Fund the Change 2017: Tyree Guyton


We are thrilled to introduce you to Fund the Change recipient Tyree Guyton, DFA.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Twitter: @HeidelbergProj

Instagram: tyreeguyton

Facebook: HeidelbergProject

Websites: and

Tyree smiling in front of a polka dot house at The Heidelberg Project

About Tyree:

From his website,

“Tyree Guyton is an American Neo-Expressionist artist who is a proponent of Graffiti art and Urban Environmental art. He has waged a personal war on urban blight on Detroit’s East Side, transforming his childhood neighborhood into a living indoor/outdoor art museum. Through his art, Tyree has drawn attention to the plight of Detroit’s forgotten neighborhoods and spurred discussion and action.

‘When you come to the Heidelberg Project, I want you to think—really think! My art is a medicine for the community. You can’t heal the land until you heal the minds of the people,’ says Tyree.  This iconic colorfully painted polka dotted neighborhood, which symbolizes our society’s diversity, has played a vital role in transforming the visual indignities of poverty and have placed an international spotlight in this particular community.

Recognized as one of the most powerful art environments in the world, the HP anchors work in: Reinvention and Revitalization of Urban Spaces, Politics of Creativity, Urban Renewal and Education, Urban Ecology and Environmental Justice through Public Art.  As the Heidelberg Project celebrates its 30th anniversary, Tyree’s hope is that the community will assume a larger role in the continued evolution of the Heidelberg Project.

Tyree studied at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and in 2009 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Art. He exhibits his work extensively throughout the United States and the world.  Tyree’s art is featured in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Studio Museum of Harlem and many others. His work as an artist has earned him over 18 awards, locally and nationally. Tyree has also been featured in major publications, books, and television (including the Oprah Winfrey Show) and was the subject of the Emmy Award Winning Documentary, Come Unto Me, the Faces of Tyree Guyton; and more recently the subject of a book published in 2007 by WSU Press, Connecting the Dots, Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project—a 2008 Michigan Notable Book.  Tyree is married and continues to live and work in the city of Detroit.”

In Tyree’s own words:

“My art is about how nothing (seemingly) becomes something. The shapes, colors and already existing materials of this world, that only God can create, are my teachers. Life, itself, is one big stage on which we all perform. I have concluded that everything is connected to the invisible.

My experiences have granted me knowledge about how to create art by seeing beauty in everything that exists. Even in the smallest molecule or things in this life that we can’t see, we are all bound by this same energy, we are all bound by gravity and we breathe the same air. I can see the evolution of life in everything, in every minute second. How beautiful it is to witness this process in action.

This evolution keeps the world turning. Consequently, my work is always changing to reflect the evolution of mankind. It’s the energy source that gives humans and all earthly creatures life and I believe my job is to create life on the canvas. This change or metamorphosis is both good and bad energy, negative and positive energy all of which helps me to find balance in my work and my life. My work is radical and very extreme. It’s not about right or wrong or aesthetics. Instead it asks the question, can it work in the space at that time? Taking the discards of life and allowing the elements to play in the creative process is how I give life back to the canvas.”

How can we support Tyree’s work?

The Heidelberg Project is evolving. Donate here.

Visit The Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan. (And take a look around on the Google Map today!)

Check out Tyree’s online shop.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog using the button at the top-right of the page to be sure you don’t miss future Fund the Change recipients’ incredible stories and work.

Click to learn more, recommend someone as a future gift recipient, or donate to the fund.

No Comments

Leave a Reply