Just after 3AM, the HP received a phone call from their temporary mobile patrol reporting yet another intentional fire. Though their response was swift, by the time DFD arrived on the scene, the Penny House was fully engulfed in flames and the only option was a controlled burn. The Penny House, under renovation to become on-site office and community space, was burned completely to the ground.
The loss of the Penny House was shocking and disheartening, especially so soon after fire claimed the House of Soul. It should come as no surprise, however, that Tyree Guyton is rallying the troops. We will not be stopped! Now, Tyree wants to know: will you help him change the world?
Below is an excerpt from the statement given by Executive Director Jenenne Whitfield at our annual fall fundraiser, ENCORE, in the wake of a sixth arson fire:
"The Heidelberg Project is internationally reviewed as a fertile ground for creating art from existing fragments; the evidence of waste, consumption and greed. For nearly three decades Tyree has led the cause to reach across economic and geographical boundaries to bridge cultural differences through artistic expression. He is raising awareness for the power of "art as medicine" in a community that has been devastated. Ill-health, under-employment, dismal environments, apathy and crime are the fallout of a post industrial era. People are hurting leaving them in a state of hopelessness, despair and destruction of which Standard medicine cannot cure.
The HP is a sacred battle ground that has withstood damage by bulldozers and now WILLFUL destruction by fire. However we must preserve and protect the ongoing creative and spiritual contribution of The Heidelberg Project. If we can’t get justice from our city, we must stand for justice. We must stand in defiance of evil!
As we try and wrap our head around this we remember that it has been said everything happens for a reason. Maybe the old is making room for the new. However we are certain that the Heidelberg Project will propel to a new and even greater Heidelberg Project and a new promise for the future of Detroit."
-- Jenenne Whitfield and Tyree Guyton