Detroit’s 'Zombie Land' Finds Hope In Heidelberg Art Project
We’re all watching Detroit and nothing is more symbolic of its despair than block after block of abandoned homes. Locals call this their own “Zombie Land” and it’s as close to a post-apocalyptic landscape you’re going to find without an actual thermonuclear bomb dropping.
Yet, there is hope. Never underestimate the power of art and people and community. There, in the middle of this ghastliness, stands The Heidelberg Project (see images).
The Heidelberg Project is all about taking the many abandoned homes found along Detroit’s Heidelberg Street and making art of them. It’s a case of artists to the rescue and this alone is bringing people back, if not to live to at least visit. It’s a giant open air, drive-by art museum that only humans on the edge can devise and laugh at and cry over. It’s Mad Max meets post-war Berlin meets hipster folk art gallery.
The many abandoned houses are full-scale installation art pieces that any forward thinking museum would be proud to have as a show piece, but here they are available for anyone and everyone to view, and they are decaying majestically. Some are covered in stuffed animals while others are festooned with vinyl records, while still others are painted with polka dots.
The rusted hulks of autos and buses add layers of irony to this once proud car capital.
Many locals hate it. But many love it, especially out-of-towners and international tourists looking for remnants of Motown, and America.
If nothing else, it shows how art can be a force in bringing back urban centers. Yes, why not make Detroit one massive art installation, or at least make Heidelberg Street a national monument?
Here are a few of Detroit homes in The Heidelberg Project.