Heidelberg Project, Detroit

Photo © Jamie Bradburn

Why stick to a wee sculpture here, and a piddly little mural there? If you’re going to create a really impressive piece of public art, then why not take over a couple of city blocks?

The Heidelberg Project is an ever-evolving piece of outdoor art that has overtaken a formerly downtrodden, violent and largely abandoned neighbourhood of Detroit, Michigan.

In 1986, local artist Tyree Guyton set out to turn the abandoned houses into giant urban sculptures, with the help of eager local kids.

From teddy-infested facades to rooftop and sidewalk graffiti, haphazardly strewn sculptures of junk to burnt out cars decked out in tortoiseshell and polka dots – the artwork has a disarming naivety to it.

The project continues to this day, and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

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