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An Eye for the Past -- and Future

Intriguing story (once again) out of Sheri Welch over at Crain's Detroit. She reports in the magazine's most recent edition that the Heidelberg Project may be in line for significant funding from local and national sources to get its long-awaited "arts village" off the ground.

Detroit artist Tyree Guyton has wanted to make his original vision into a larger, largely educational center for the past decade -- when multiple mayors weren't busy tearing parts of it down. Now, the plan to expand it into a real arts center looks like it could come to pass, especially if the foundations that are knocking on his dotted doors actually come up with the funds to make it happen.

I say: How do I donate? This art project has the proverbial nine lives. So let it live. Let's bring some artists of all ages into the city. Maybe that's the formula to getting this Detroit thing to come around. I'm tired of adding the caveat "if Detroit comes around" to stories and blog posts. It's time to announce the changes are here...and maybe Guyton is the man for the job.

Background: According to its Web site, the Heidelberg Project is an "open air art exhibit/education center promoting positive change. Artist Tyree Guyton has transformed vacant homes and lots into his vision of hope for the future." Guyton started the massive installation in 1986. According to Wikipedia, the site is located in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood on the city's east side, just north of the city's historically African-American Black Bottom area. Read the whole entry here. Check out the Heidelberg site here.

Long story short from Crain's:

The vision for the village on Heidelberg Street, on Detroit's lower east side, includes three buildings: one to house artists who will provide arts education and practice their craft; a café and gift shop welcome center; and a third to house offices, classrooms and studio space for children and visiting artists... There's also a plan for an outdoor playhouse and amphitheater in the middle of the block.

I'd love to quote the whole article (or maybe 16 paragraphs or so...hey, that previous time was a rookie mistake and I was suffering from N1H1!). But you have to be a paid Crain's subscriber to get all of its greatness in one spot. So check it out if you can.

I'd also love to see Detroit become an artists colony of sorts. Don't they always say the artists come in to these abandoned areas first...then everyone else follows?

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