2013: Trouble at Detroit’s Heidelberg Project

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Eight houses have been destroyed in seven months at Detroit’s Heidelberg Project.  This all took place this year and they’ve all
been classified as arson.

Detroit is plagued by deliberate fires.  Some of these are done for payment or for revenge.  Others are done for no reason at all or for “kicks.”  In any case, such fires often turn deadly.  They can spread to inhabited homes.  Residents or firefighters can be injured,  or worse.  Why the Heidelberg Project is being attacked is anyone’s guess.  Rumors and stories are in the air.  I’m not sure whether it’s one person and his friends or if there are several perpetrators.

In any case, it’s a terrible thing.  Detroit’s had enough trouble this year without this.

I helped them when Coleman Young’s Detroit government tore down four houses in one day in November 1991.  This is the worst attack since then.  This time it’s not “legal.”

In the 1991 assault, Tyree Guyton told me that he was inside of one of the houses trying to retrieve some of his art work.  The bulldozer smashed through the wall with him inside the house!  Luckily, he wasn’t seriously hurt!

We were down there, helping him clean up and trying to save what we could.  I held a long interview with Mr. Guyton around this time.  His work helped inspire me to do my own massive street art project on the late, great J.L. Hudsons Building in downtown Detroit.

They’re doing what they can.  I hope that they rebuild and renew.  I hope there’s no further trouble.  I wish them all the best.  These are my wishes for a great 2014 to Tyree Guyton, Jenenne Whitfield and all the Heidelberg Project crew!

Maurice Greenia, Jr.  December 31, 2013

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This film gives a good picture of the current “fire situation” in Detroit:


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