Detroit’s Heidelberg Project to relocate exhibits

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 03: An art instillation created amongst the ruins of a partially burned-down home sits amongst the "Heidelberg project," which is an "open air art environment" centered around one block in Detroit, on September 3, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Heidelberg project is the brain child of Tyree Guyton. He and other artists use the urban environment (including homes and sidewalks) as a canvas for art, which they make using paint and recycled materials. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

DETROIT (AP) — An art gallery aimed at fixing Detroit’s urban decay is moving to another location after the nonprofit that owns it couldn’t afford to buy the building.

The Heidelberg Project’s Midtown Gallery had also served as the administrative headquarters, meeting space and studio space for over eight years. A three-day farewell event for the gallery is this weekend, the Detroit Free Press reported.

City records show the building was sold in December for nearly $1.2 million to a company that plans to turn the property into residential and office space.

Heidelberg Project founder Tyree Guyton announced in August that the nonprofit would dismantle its art exhibits in an east-side neighborhood to rebuild in an undecided location. Guyton said the deconstruction is the first step toward embedding arts and culture into a new neighborhood.

“The deconstruction of the physical site is ongoing,” spokesman Dan Lijana said. “The art is being carefully packed away and stored. Tyree continues to get inquiries from galleries around the United States and the world about his work.”

The Heidelberg Project, founded in 1986, was originally designed as a creative response to blight and decay in the neighborhood Guyton grew up in. The nonprofit draws an estimated 200,000 visitors annually from around the world.

In 2013, homes decorated by Guyton were targets of 12 arson fires, and six have burned down since.

“The Heidelberg Project is Detroit’s own,” president Jenenne Whitfield said. “It is an example of our city’s rich legacy of innovation and originality. We will bring the same funky, welcoming and innovative vibe to a new neighborhood and help make that community the next hot spot in our city.”

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