We all have a short list of places we have lived (relatively) near our whole lives but have never visited. For me, The Heidelberg Project was on the top of that list – until last May. Check out our visit (and then plan your own!).
What is It?
I think The Heidelberg Project is one of the most misunderstood “attractions” in Detroit. People that have lived here awhile have surely heard about it, but the question I got a lot after telling friends about our visit is – “What is it?”. The easy answer:”It’s art.” And for those that appreciate art, that is enough. But, The Heidelberg Project has a much more profound mission and vision (as written on their website)
“Our 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…” and
“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.”
And flourish it does…
During our visit, we were lucky enough to meet artist and founder Tyree Guyton. He is a friendly, welcoming, and unassuming man that walked up to us shortly after we arrived and said hello. He told us that he loved my daughter’s brightly colored clothing and invited her to paint a circle for him on the sidewalk. Abby decided to paint a big smiley face instead. We also had a chance to chat with Tyree for a few minutes and I asked him how he has kept the Heidelberg project going despite all the fires and other challenges. Of course, I didn’t think to write down his answer (that would be way too professional-like), but the gist of what he said is that he works hard and it takes a little bit of crazy. Isn’t that how most good ideas flourish into a beautiful reality?
Plan your visit:
Location: Heidelberg St (near Mount Elliot). Heidelberg is a short street so just map directions to Heidelberg Street, Detroit and you’ll be set.
Parking: Free parking on the street(s).
Cost: Free! (But donations are encouraged if you are able to do so.)
Safety?: Yes, it is not in the greatest area, but No, we never felt unsafe. My advice is to go during the day and stay near the art. I felt completely comfortable walking around with my mom and my kids on a Sunday afternoon.
Other: We spent close to 2 hours wandering around, talking to Tyree, playing on the little playscape, and taking lots of pictures – but, you could spend as little as 15 minutes and still see everything. The gift shop was also open when we were there (located in the Numbers house).