Iconic Detroit Outdoor Art Environment, The Heidelberg Project, Launches App

Isobar U.S has launched the first ever app for one of Detroit’s most iconic landmarks, The Heidelberg Project (HP). HP is an outdoor art installation founded in 1986 by Tyree Guyton as a creative response to urban blight and decay in the Detroit neighborhood in which Guyton grew up. Over 32 years, HP has served as a community organization that improves the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. The app is designed to guide users through a unique tour of the site leveraging GPS technology.

Upon downloading the app, visitors get a birds’ eye view of the full art installation. Viewers then have the opportunity to deep dive into key landmarks within the exhibit, exploring content tied to the history, construction and inspiration. Isobar crafted the app by marrying two technologies quickly gaining momentum: React Native, which allows iOS and Android to share a common client platform and Firebase, which made the creation of a full services layer much faster. The mobile app is designed to give visitors to the property better context and help to tell Guyton and the Heidelberg Project’s story.

Isobar has been working with HP for over a year out of its Detroit office, and this new app is just one of the projects birthed out of the partnership which intertwines art and technology.

“The Heidelberg Project inspires creativity and embodies our ideals of spreading innovation” said Dave Meeker, VP at Isobar. “When we first started working with The Heidelberg Project we didn’t know what the output would look like, rather we’d work with their team to understand the needs of such a unique organization and then design and build things that help them do what they do and make a positive impact on society. We are impressed by what they have done and continue to do with public art and creative inspiration and we are proud to be able to collaborate with them and bring forward new ways to further their mission. “

“This app gives visitors to the Heidelberg Project an insider’s look at the stories behind some of the Tyree Guyton’s most iconic works,” said Heidelberg Project President Jenenne Whitfield. “The app will provide a digital experience consistent with the spirit of innovation and art that has defined the Heidelberg Project for more than 30 years.”

The Heidelberg App is now available for free, and is available on the Apple AppStore and the Android Market. This release comes at an opportune time as the Heidelberg Project continues on its journey with Heidelberg 3.0, a transformation from an art in-stallation driven by one man into a self-sustaining arts and culture village. In the future, the app will include past exhibits while guiding visitors to check out newly launched art work.

Join us as we look back on 2017

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It's been a transformative year for us here at the Heidelberg Project! We moved our offices out of Midtown and Giant Steps came down, clocks from Heidelberg street traveled to be part of The Times installation in Philadelphia, and together we raised more than $100k to renovate the iconic Numbers House. Our vision for Heidelberg 3.0 is now taking shape and thanks to you, we will reach new heights in the year ahead. THANK YOU for your support! 

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We are looking for a Graphic Designer at the HP!

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Call for Graphic Designer at the Heidelberg Project

Employment Type: Contractual, as needed basis
Rate of pay: negotiable

Graphic design needs for print and digital content include:

  • Corporate sponsorship packets
  • Annual reports and other external reporting materials
  • Brochures and event flyers

If interested, please send your resume / portfolio to jobs@heidelberg.org no later than January 5th, 2018.

The Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy (HALA) is to launch in January, 2018

Doors of Opportunity (Photo, HP archives) 

Doors of Opportunity (Photo, HP archives) 

The Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy (HALA) is a free in-school or after-school arts education program designed to empower students in grades 4 through 12 with the tools they need to be active change agents in their community.

HALA's mission is to empower students through arts, cultural and academic enrichment, STEAM education and social justice projects that cultivate potential and inspire active leadership. 

In partnership with Martin Luther King High School, Southeastern High School, Marcus Garvey Academy and Cesar Chavez Academy East, the Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy will reach more than 100 students through in-school and afterschool programs in 2018. 

HALA will officially launch in January, 2018 with a 9-week session followed by a second 9-week session in April. HALA course offerings for 2018 will include: Art through Hip Hop, Writes of Passage, and Art Speaks: Mural Project. 

Learn more about our HALA program by downloading our brochure

Support our HALA program by donating now

Max M. and Marjorie Fisher Foundation awards $150K, 5-Year capacity building grant to HP

HP Taxi

As the Heidelberg Project (HP) embarks on a new vision, the support and partnership of a five-year capacity building grant from the Max M. and Marjorie Fisher Foundation will make our strides that much stronger!

During a time when arts and culture are more vital than ever, the Fisher Foundation set out to address demand for the growth and sustainability of local arts organizations, and the HP is one of them. With the intention to transform the world renowned project site into a larger arts center for and by the community and expand programming in supplemental K12 education and community development, the HP is well poised to fully utilize the support. Leveraging this capacity building partnership will be the implementation of a three-year strategic organizational plan beginning in January 2018 and developed by the talent and expertise of select HP board members, Candace Jackson and Jules Polk.

The Max M. and Marjorie Foundation Capacity Building Initiative will take place beginning January 2018 through to the end of 2022, and will include evaluation support by Detroit-based firm JFM Consulting Group.   



Show your support on this Giving Tuesday!


The Numbers House is the heart of the Heidelberg Project and for #GivingTuesday we're asking for help with its renovation. Your support will allow us to give back to the neighborhood and help to create an artist-in-residence program, a new studio and gallery for emerging artists, and an education and event space for neighborhood events and youth programming.

Thank you for helping us inspire the next generation of creative leaders in Detroit! 

Donate NOW

Heidelberg 3.0 begins with renovation of iconic Numbers House


Heidelberg Project to Create Detroit’s First Arts and Culture Village

DETROIT —Heidelberg 3.0, the groundbreaking new vision for the Heidelberg Project is underway. Construction has begun on the iconic Numbers House, one of only two original Heidelberg Project structures standing within the internationally-acclaimed outdoor art installation.

“The reinvention of the Numbers House marks the beginning of a new era for the Heidelberg Project and for the neighborhood we’ve called home for the last thirty years,” said Jenenne Whitfield, president and CEO of the Heidelberg Project. “Rebuilding this structure is the first step toward realizing our vision. We’re not just making a bricks and mortar investment by rebuilding the structure, we are creating a community center for people that will inspire a new generation of creative leaders.”

The renovated Numbers House will feature a premiere artist in residence program, a new studio and gallery for emerging artists, and an education and event space for neighborhood events and youth programming. The current funky, visually-stimulating appearance of the building will also undergo a transformation. Tyree Guyton, the artist and founder of the Heidelberg Project, will select an artist to design a new installation on the exterior of the building, the first of many new artists to be engaged in the collaborative Heidelberg 3.0.

The Numbers House is a few doors from the Dotty Wotty House where Tyree Guyton grew up. The home belonged to Thelma Woods and her family who asked Guyton to paint numbers on the house to help teach her young children to count in the 1990’s. Upon her passing, she shared with Guyton that she wanted her house to remain a part of the Heidelberg Project forever. 

“I can’t believe the house is still standing and that my mother will have a legacy,” said Jeremiah Woods, Thelma’s son and one of the boys that inspired the original Numbers House installation.

Construction of the Numbers House begins almost exactly one year from the date when Whitfield kicked off a $100,000 capital campaign to raise funds for a new roof, windows, and basic plumbing and electrical work. The six-month effort brought in nearly $110,000 to kick-start construction. 

The new roof is expected to be completed this fall and demolition of interior walls has already begun. Construction is expected to start in the spring. Laavu, a Detroit-Based Architectural Design Practice rooted in city-building will serve as the design partner.

“This is only the beginning of Heidlelberg 3.0,” said Whitfield. “This can be a blueprint for how Detroit neighborhoods can be rebuilt with long-term residents and new residents working together to be part of something bigger. Together we are going to reimagine this community, lift it up economically and preserve the legacy of what Tyree built over the last 31 years.”


Founded in 1986 by artist Tyree Guyton, The Heidelberg Project is a Detroit-based community organization that uses art as a catalyst to breathe new life into the community, transforming what others saw as trash into public, outdoor art installations. The nonprofit also offers free art programs to thousands of children in the neighborhood and at Detroit and suburban schools. In August 2016, Guyton announced Heidelberg 3.0, a new vision to transform his childhood neighborhood from an arts installation driven by one man into a self-sustaining arts and culture village. 

In Memory of Betty Jean Guyton

Betty Jean Guyton

Betty Jean Guyton

A note from Tyree Guyton

Dear Heidelberg Family,

My beautiful mother, Betty Jean Guyton,  departed this life on September 25, 2017 at 9:17pm  She went home to be with Yahweh, (God).  It was her time and she is at peace.

Betty Guyton raised 10 kids on her own.  She was a fighter and a force to be reckoned with when it came to truth and honesty.  When we were kids, many times we had no lights in our home but we had candles.  Often the furniture didn’t match but she mixed in her own special way.  No matter what, she was always there.

My mother was very proud of my work with the Heidelberg Project. We would talk about many things but mostly about her faith and about how God had a special plan for me.  She encouraged me to hang in there throughout all of my challenges.   She would sit on the front porch of the polka dot house, and watch me work.   She was always talking about the Heidelberg Project with her nurses and doctors at dialysis. When I traveled, she would leave me a message on my cell phone to call her. Her message to me, “I miss you , when are you coming home, son?”

She lived her life and now she is with her spiritual family.  I inherited her fighting spirit and her love, I will never forget.  Her new home is beyond this world, where there is no more pain and suffering, and time doesn’t exist.  

P.S. I love you always, my beautiful, wonderful mother, Betty Jean Guyton.  You are the first lady of Heidelberg.    

Tyree Guyton

Services for Betty Jean Guyton will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12pm (Noon)

Transformation Christian Church
89 W. Grand, Highland Park, MI

Repass will follow on Heidelberg Street

NOTE:  If you are so inclined, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Heidelberg Project in honor of Betty Jean Guyton.  All cards, donations and other expressions of condolences should be sent:

C/O The Heidelberg Project
1005 Parker Unit 1
Detroit 48214

Thank you!

Join us on Saturday, September 30th for Storytime at Heidelberg

Storytime at Heidelberg

Meet us at the Dotty Wotty House on Saturday, September 30th for Storytime at Heidelberg! We will be reading The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater and Magic Trash by J.H. Shapiro at 12:00 p.m. and again at 1:00 p.m.

Join us at our drop-in workshop after the readings, where we will be making junk art fridge magnets inspired by Tyree Guyton's art houses. Our drop-in workshop will begin after the first reading at 12:00 p.m. and continue until 2:00 p.m. 

The Big Orange Splot and Magic Trash books are appropriate for early elementary youth and our drop-in workshop is appropriate for all ages.

We are seeking volunteers for this event! If interested and/or available, please contact HP programming manager Margaret Grace via email at margaret@heidelberg.org or by phone at (313) 458-8414.

This event is part of Thirty Months of Heidelberg, a series of celebratory experiences and events in conjunction to the 30-year anniversary of the Heidelberg Project. Thirty months of Heidelberg is supported in part by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.