Lady waving to the street view car in the first image, c. 2009.

Nearby the Heidelberg Project, and in the style, though not sure if a Tyree or not.

Why Don’t We Own This? shows the property taxes haven’t been paid in a few years (makes sense…) and $2k+ is owed. The property is subject to foreclosure, but not in the auction this year. One of the 35,000 that float year to year, waiting until they accumulate enough in owed taxes to be worth auctioning.


*Please note I did not take any of these photos or write any of the text, I just wanted to share this with everyone on tumblr. Check the source link for the original article.

Writing credit to Ella Morton

Photo credits to Paula Soler-Moya, Patricia Drury, Randy Wade, Jessica Reeder, Wigwam Jones and Tocqueville 2012.

“Watching the deterioration of his impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhood of McDougall-Hall two decades after Detroit’s 1967 race riots, artist Tyree Guyton felt the need to do something. So he picked up a paintbrush and painted pastel polka dots all over his grandfather’s Heidelberg Street house.

Guyton’s paint job was the first act toward what became the Heidelberg Project, an outdoor community art project aimed at breathing life back into his decaying district. Encouraged by his grandfather, and with the help of local kids, Guyton began decorating the abandoned homes beside the polka-dot house and installing art made from salvaged materials.

The project now spans two blocks and is constantly evolving, anchored by the altered houses. One ramshackle two-story home is covered in stuffed animals. Another is painted with numbers of wildly varying sizes and colors. Strewn across the yards are sculptures incorporating decorated cars, shopping carts, doors, shoes, and household appliances.

Though the infusion of color and creativity has attracted a stream of appreciative visitors to McDougall-Hall, the Heidelberg Project has some vocal critics. Chief among them is the city of Detroit, which demolished parts of the community in 1991 and 1999.

Local detractors view the Heidelberg Project as an eyesore and health hazard, and resent the fact that it draws further attention to Detroit’s urban blight. On November 12 of this year, the project’s "House of Soul,” an abandoned house decorated with hundreds of records, burned to the ground in a suspected arson attack. This followed a suspicious fire in May, in which an art-enhanced building called the “Obstruction of Justice House” was destroyed.

Undeterred, Guyton has responded to the destruction with relentless optimism and vowed to continue expanding his vibrant art community.“

Again, see the original post here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2013/11/19/the_heidelberg_project_brings_color_art_and_controversy_to_a_decaying_part.html


Crypton CEO, Editor of Interior Design visited Detroit’s Heidelberg Project to see a chair that was upholstered with their fabric over five years ago. Read the entire article here, which includes an interview with Tyree Guyton, insight into the Heidelberg Project, and more on the fabric that outlasted the chair’s wooden frame.

Also, check out UMMA’s upcoming exhibition The Art of Tyree Guyton: A Thirty-Year Journey opening August 22, 2015–January 3, 2016!

Greater Alexander.
Detroit, Michigan.

It had been roughly ten years since we had last seen each other, both of us so different now. We came to the same place where we shot then, Heidelberg Street, and talked about all of magic within our lives, all of the changes that have happened, and all of the gratitude we so deeply feel.



The Heidelberg Project is a series of empty homes and other objects in downtown Detroit that Tyree Guyton turned into art pieces. It is a huge outdoor art installation with each house and object carrying a different theme. It has been around for 27 years and spans 2 blocks. They describe themselves as:

The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor community art environment. The elements of the canvas contain recycled materials and found objects, most of which were salvaged from the streets of Detroit. Each work of art is carefully devised to tell a story about current issues plaguing society. As a whole, the HP is symbolic of how many communities in Detroit have become discarded.

Someone is burning them down.

Today the second house in just nine days was burnt to the ground in arson.

This is the sixth arson in five months. There are only four houses left.

I’m from the metro area and I know what people say so let me preemptively strike back: This is not someone cleaning up Detroit, you cannot burn down the whole city and start from scratch, this is not helping.

This is someone burning down something that brings tourism, money, and education to an otherwise depressed city and neighborhood. Do you think these arsonists come back later to help clean up the mess they made? No, they leave a burnt shell of broken objects and charred wood and it just sits there. It rots and grows over and becomes a dangerous safety hazard and looks like crap. Arsons help no one. 

The Heidelberg Project has set up an indiegogo page asking for donations to implement security measures in their neighborhood. There are two reasons this is important beyond the value of the art itself and the tourism it’s given this area: These art homes are in a neighborhood where people actually live and one of these arsons could easily set ablaze a neighbor’s home and hurt or kill someone. Detroit has very little police and fire resources due to a lack of money and so the response time for an emergency call can be hours; there is often literally no help or protection provided by police.

You can learn more about the Heidelberg Project on their website and check out another informational video about the Project talking with the artist and others.

I don’t know if you’ll give this your money, but please do give it your attention.