Detroit has long suffered from urban blight and a gained a reputation as a mecca for “ruin porn.” But the city is making an impressive comeback and has enough new construction projects, new residents and new sports facilities in the works to make most cities envious.
The city still has a long way to go. There are vast swaths of vacant buildings and open land where structures have been torn down. But, talk about making lemonade when life gives you lemons….The city’s many vacant buildings and storefronts have made Detroit a massive canvas for world-renowned street artists, attracting tourists who love street art and graffiti from around the world.
One of the most famous street art locations in Detroit is the once-thriving two-block area of the city’s east side known as the Heidelberg Project constructed by artist Tyree Guyton. It’s an outdoor art experience you wouldn’t believe–funny, sad and haunting. His goal, to make people pay attention to the blight rather than avoiding it. You can read about it and Detroit’s other street art and graffiti projects in the terrific book Canvas Detroit that I picked up on my recent visit there. In that book Guyton says, “My experiences have granted me knowledge of how to create art and how to see beauty in everything that exists.” Take a look: