For the past 30 years, The Heidelberg Project has served Detroit through community engagement and arts education programs, nonprofit work and the internationally renowned art installations of founder Tyree Guyton. By drawing attention to a once forgotten neighborhood and breathing renewed life into the community through art, The Heidelberg Project has contributed to a drastic reduction in area crime while acting as a bridge between Detroit and its suburbs.
Yet, just as the city of Detroit is changing, so must The Heidelberg Project change to best serve the community. With that in mind, Guyton today announced his vision for the future of the project: Heidelberg 3.0. For Guyton, Heidelberg 3.0 presents an opportunity to learn from the successes and challenges of the project’s first 30 years and implement a plan that can be embraced by and serve the community for years to come.
Guyton and his team are setting out to transform The Heidelberg Project from an art installation largely driven by one man into a living, breathing arts-infused community for residents and visitors alike to gather, express their creativity, cultivate talent and embrace the culture of the neighborhood. Throughout the transition, The Heidelberg Project will remain focused on its primary objective: to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. Guyton hopes that Heidelberg 3.0 will add to that mission by injecting new life, new people and new resources into the community.
“After 30 amazing years, it’s time to bring a close to this phase of the Project. It’s time for change! Haven’t you noticed the clocks?” said Guyton. Heidelberg 3.0 will see the work of the Heidelberg Project and Tyree Guyton continue to bring together residents, Heidelberg Project supporters and new partners to address blight and economic conditions by transforming the physical site and McDougall Hunt neighborhood into a self-sustainable cultural village. “It’s already happening. We’re seeing a cultural shift in the community with new ideas emerging around Heidelberg 3.0. Several folks have moved into the neighborhood to be closer to the Heidelberg Project and we’re galvanizing this energy and are reinforcing our commitment to the community,” says executive Director Jenenne Whitfield.
As the organization sets out to accomplish this ambitious goal, Guyton and Whitfield will also take time to reflect on all that The Heidelberg Project has accomplished in its first 30 years, from its community impact to inspiring new generations of artists who now call Detroit home. As the installations come down, key pieces of artwork will be placed in museums and galleries throughout the city and across the nation to preserve the Heidelberg legacy for years to come. Additionally, monthly events and gatherings are planned to celebrate the community fostered through The Heidelberg Project over the next two years.
Success for The Heidelberg Project has not come without challenges. The organization has faced much adversity, from theft and arson to demolition from city government, but has overcome and prospered thanks to generous supporters and the more than 270,000 people that visit the site each year. That support is more important than ever, as Guyton sets out on this new venture and works to ensure that The Heidelberg Project thrives for another 30 years.