Time present and time pastAre both perhaps present in time future,And time future contained in time past.–T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
The Heidelberg Project is an art environment in the heart of Detroit’s east side. The project was started by artist Tyree Guyton and his grandfather, Sam Mackey, in 1986. After serving in the Army, Guyton was shocked to see the state of decline in his childhood neighborhood. The project began with painting dots and attaching salvaged objects to houses in a two-block area. Twice, the city of Detroit has demolished houses in the Heidelberg Project: in 1991, under Mayor Coleman Young, three houses were destroyed, and three more were removed in 1999 during Mayor Dennis Archer’s tenure. In 2013 and 2014, more houses fell victim to arson; to date, no arrests have been made.
Some of these photos were taken before the fires, others after. From its beginning, the Heidelberg Project has been fluid and changing, and new installations have appeared since these photos. We urge you to venture out and enjoy this amazing public space yourself! If you’d like to visit, the address is 3600 Heidelberg St, Detroit, MI 48207. It is located not far from Eastern Market, Mount Elliott cemetery, the Packard Plant, Belle Isle, and the Detroit Riverfront, so plan to spend a day in the area.