Street Sense: A 20 Year Retrospective of Tyree Guyton and the Heidelberg Project
Street Sense: Celebrating 20 Years of The Heidelberg Project exhibition opens at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum Friday, February 8

VIDEO: Interview with Tyree Guyton

The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum will host Street Sense: Celebrating 20 Years of The Heidelberg Project, an exhibition that opens Feb. 8. This special exhibition documents and commemorates the 20-year history of the provocative and internationally recognized neighborhood art project known as The Heidelberg Project, created by Detroit African-American artist, Tyree Guyton. Included in the show are Guyton’s preliminary sketches for Heidelberg installations, historical and contemporary photographs of the project, works of art by Guyton which reflect the free-spirited energy of The Heidelberg Project, and sculptural works from the Project itself, on special temporary loan for this exhibition.

For 20 years, the Heidelberg Project has been an engaging presence on Detroit’s east side. This signature work by artist Tyree Guyton is a symbol of hope and an object of praise, as well as a locus of controversy. Through its tumultuous 20-year history, the Heidelberg Project has remained a thought-provoking and stimulating presence for Detroiters as well as visitors from around the world.

In 1986, responding to the deterioration and decay of a once-vibrant Detroit and his own neighborhood, artist Tyree Guyton became inspired to use art to change the world. Since then, Guyton has worked on his Heidelberg Project – a colorful and energetic environmental art project meant to transform the deteriorated neighborhood where the artist grew up into a place with an atmosphere of hope and possibility, with its brightly colored sculptures in vacant lots, and painted abandoned houses adorned with discarded objects from the inner city. Guyton’s vision is centered on using art to transform an environment by stemming urban decay, displacing crime, and rebuilding the dignity and hope of a community.

“Tyree Guyton has become one of Michigan’s most celebrated contemporary artists,” said Marilyn Wheaton, Museum director. “The Heidelberg Project is Detroit’s third most frequently visited tourist attraction.”

Street Sense is the first major exhibition focusing on the Heidelberg Project’s 20-year history, creating a fresh opportunity to examine and interpret the many facets of Guyton’s urban art, and to reconsider its ability to transform environment and encourage multicultural dialogue.

The exhibition was organized through the collaboration of Wayne State University and the Heidelberg Project with funding through a Joyce Foundation Art Award. It was exhibited at Wayne State University September 28 through December 14, 2007.
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