DETROIT (WWJ) – The Heidelberg Project is pressuring the Detroit Land Bank to let them buy property where the organization’s art projects have been displayed for more than 30 years.
An online petition claims the city has been uncooperative as the organization seeks to purchase 40 parcels of land on Heidelberg Street in Midtown Detroit — accusing the officials of trying to “silence” the project’s supporters.
“Our application was denied twice without explanation. We call it like we see it. Thank you all for the support and help us keep the pressure up!” read a statement posted to the organization’s Facebook page on Wednesday.
In the past, a Land bank spokesperson has said there was nothing wrong with their application to buy land; added, however, that they reserve the right to reject any application.
Plagued by arson in recent years, the largely destroyed outdoor art installation was once a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, and was featured in films and on TV. Artist Tyree Guyton, who created The Heidelberg Project in 1986, has described it as an open-air art environment where discarded objects — including discarded shoes and vinyl records — were used to create a two-block area “full of color, symbolism and intrigue.”
Last fall, The Heidelberg Project launched a fundraising campaign as supporters looked to largely dismantle, remake and expand the installation.
“Mayor Duggan says that every neighborhood has a future and that those who stayed in Detroit have a voice in how their neighborhoods redevelop,” a message on the petition page reads. “It is time he live up to that promise.”
In a statement by Heidelberg CEO Jenenne Whitfield to the Detroit Free Press, Whitfield said the strong language toward the mayor and the city was used because it’s never been more important to fight “unfair and exclusionary practices.”