Heidelberg Project Three-Year Fund-Raising Target: $3 Million

November 24, 2013, 11:26 AM by  Alan Stamm

Heidelberg Project leaders have ambitious goals to rise from the ashes, as the saying goes.

A three-year capital drive with a $3-million target, the Heidelberg Global Family Campaign, is due to start early next year, freelance writer Vickie Elmer reports in Crain's.

Contributions to the Indiegogo drive as of Sunday evening.

Right now, a crowdfunding pitch on Indiegogo seeks $50,000 by Dec. 20 for security safeguards at the arson-plagued outdoor folk art attraction. "The Heidelberg Project is still vulnerable," says the online appeal. At the project's Facebook page, a Sunday morning post says: "Even the smallest gesture to help us protect the community is greatly appreciated!" 

More than $17,000 has been donated by 277 people since that month-long drive began Tuesday to finance solar lighting, video surveillance cameras and nightly patrols. (See video below.) 

Suspicious blazes and house-burning attempts at the east side site since May 3 have "lit a fire in people who love art," project Executive Director Jenenne Whitfield tells Elmer. "It's really galvanized people." The "Penny House" burned last Tuesday. (Photo above from the project's Facebook page shows arson investigators at the scene.)

The collection of art and outdoor installations is at Mt. Elliott and Heidelberg streets.

The multi-year campaign is aimed at erecting a new "House of Soul" art house by the time of Heidelberg's 30th anniversary in 2016 and supporting the nonprofit organization co-founded by artist Tyree Guyton. It "has grown dramatically already," the Crain's writer notes.

Raising $1 million a year is an ambitious goal, given that the organization raised $1.125 million from donors from 2008 to 2012.

"I don't think it's too aggressive," Whitfield said. "I see us as creating another Detroit legacy. Another Motown." 

Recent media coverage and the fund appeals are accompanied by dissenting voices from some project neighbors and others.

"There are people who moved to Detroit less then a year ago and have done more than the Heidelberg Project has done in 25,"  William R. Devos commented Friday under a Deadline article. "As an artist, after 25 years, Guyton should be holding retrospectives. But since his style hasn't changed . . . he still living off the neglect that his art is suppose to solve."

In an email to Deadline, east-sider Anthony Dicus of the McDougall Hunt Citizens District Council, says: "All the monies invested in this project through the years have led to an absolute zero economic reward for the citizens in that neighborhood, yet there is always a call for more."    

Earlier coverage:

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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