With its sprawling geography and revved-up food scene, the Motor City is the perfect setting for a one-day road trip.
Those of us who know and love Detroit consider it a kind of half-finished heaven. We favor its brawny, threadbare aura, its onion-and-mustard-spangled coney dogs, its rambling thoroughfares from a time when Cadillac Eldorados ruled the roads. The city’s lonely Gothic churches, historic Art Deco skyscrapers, and spacious island park are joined by a vast network of urban farms growing all sorts of delicious, fresh things in between swaths of concrete jungle. These farms, together with the city’s new restaurants dispersed in pockets all over town, make an urban road trip the best way to explore Motown.
Read why John O’Connor recommends visits to Anthology Coffee, Rose’s Fine Food, The Heidelberg Project, Eastern Market, Selden Standard, & Detroit City Distillery – and how to do it on a one-day trip.
Artists like Tyree Guyton, who’s been finding objects and attaching them to decaying homes along Heidelberg Street, are using the now blank and dilapidated city as their canvas.
And institutional art hubs like the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the Detroit Institute of Arts and organizations like Art Detroit, along with a plethora of galleries, are boosting their efforts to support the vibrant scene.
The literary arts scene is taking off, too. Currently, a writer’s residency program “Write a House” is taking applications for writers to live in a renovated home for free.
A new video by Sam Wolson examines the aftermath of nine arson fires at the Project, which attracts visitors from around the world.
Learn about Heidelberg TV, the neighborhood entertainment place for children in the Heidelberg Project community. Says founder Tyree Guyton, “they now have a REAL reality show where the name of the game is to make it up! The smiles and joy on the children faces who participate and help to create Heidelberg Television, puts a smile in my heart and lets me know that I have awakened their imaginations.”
Show Me Detroit Tours visits The Heidelberg Project during its twice daily two-hour van tours of Greater Downtown Detroit. For complete tour reservation info visit www.showmedetroittours.com/reservations.html.
Originally published by Austin Monthly
It was midnight at the Magic Stick and The Garden Bowl [in The Majestic] , a bowling alley–dive bar hybrid in Midtown Detroit, and a touring all-girl punk band had just taken the stage. The sound of clanging pins meshed perfectly with their wild, gritty sound, and in between fervent head bangings, I could discern a neon-red “You Can’t Stop Detroit” decal affixed to the lead singer’s guitar strap.
I had seen the same motto emblazoned across T-shirts, storefront windows and bumper stickers throughout the streets of Detroit, which, following its 2013 bankruptcy, began billing itself as “America’s Great Comeback City.” The skeletal remains of its bygone industrial heyday, like the Packard Plant, the largest abandoned building in the world, are still visible throughout the Motor City, but a new generation of intrepid artists and entrepreneurs only see new opportunities, taking advantage of cheap rent and newly vacant historic locales to breathe life back into a town that’s known for pulling itself up by its bootstraps.
Part political protest and part outdoor art environment, the Heidelberg Project in Detroit’s East Side aims to transform lives through the power of creativity. Begun in 1986, the project features a block of trees, yards and abandoned houses along Heidelberg Street adorned with found object sculptures and the project’s signature polka dot motif.