Changing lives through art – The Heidelberg project

Changing lives through art – The Heidelberg project

The Heidelberg Project is a Detroit-based community organization designed to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. Their mission is to inspire people to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the social and economic health of their greater community.

The Heidelberg Project Detroit

One of the artistic interventions in the Heidelberg Project

It was created in 1986 by the artist Tyree Guyton, who was assisted by his wife, Karen, and grandfather Sam Mackey (“Grandpa Sam”). The Heidelberg Project is in part a political protest, as Tyree Guyton’s childhood neighborhood began to deteriorate after the 1967 riots. Guyton described coming back to Heidelberg Street after serving in the Army; he was astonished to see that the surrounding neighborhood looked as if “a bomb went off”.

The Heidelberg Project Detroit

The theory of change for the Heidelberg Project begins with the belief that all citizens, from all cultures, have the right to grow and flourish in their communities. The HP believes that a community can redevelop and sustain itself, from the inside out, by embracing its diverse cultures and artistic attributes as the essential building blocks for a fulfilling and economically viable way of life.

The Heidelberg project Detroit

McDougall-Hunt neighborhood on the city’s east side where the Heidelberg project is located

The Heidelberg Project Detroit

Houses in the neighborhood as part of the project

Related stories