Detroit Evening Report: Heidelberg Project lays off staff, plans to sell headquarters after facing financial hardship

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The Heidelberg Project - "Penny Car"

The Heidelberg Project artwork entitled "Penny Car."

The world-renowned Heidelberg Project has laid off staff and paused their educational program due to financial strain exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The board of directors approved plans last week to sell its headquarters building on McDougall Street, which contains two buildings and five lots.

“We have fought to keep our staff as long as we could because they are excellent and their work made a difference for Detroit’s youth and artist communities,” Heidelberg Project board chair Andrew Sturm told BridgeDetroit.

The organization said the proceeds will be directed to maintaining and improving the outdoor art installations in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood. The decisions are part of an effort to reorganize and create a new model to ensure long term sustainability for the unique art Heidelberg is known for.

The Heidelberg Project was started by Tyree Guyton in 1986 when he returned from serving in the army and saw his old neighborhood declining. Guyton painted abandoned homes with brightly colored dots.

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Other headlines for Sept. 21, 2023:

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.