Heidelberg House Fire: Detroit Art House Burns to the Ground

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 06:34 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A fire destroyed one of Detroit’s Heidelberg Project art houses, “The Doll House,” making it the eighth suspicious fire that the nonprofit has suffered in the last 10 months.

The house, also known as the “Party Animal House” because of the stuffed animals and dolls used to decorate it as an urban art project, was engulfed in flames during the early morning hours and is a total loss.

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Artist Tyree Guyton started the Heidelberg Project in 1986 as a way to bring attention and art to an area suffering from urban decay. The art houses are all abandoned structures. At first city officials thought the art was an eyesore and tore parts of it down, but as the project gained attention, it drew tourists and became an accepted art installation.

Guyton was on-site at the Animal House Friday, and when a Detroit Free-Press reporter asked if he would rebuild, he responded, “Living in this city, you can’t give up.”

A neighboring house was scorched in the blaze but there were no injuries reported, the Free-Press said.

Not all who live in the area are fans of the house art.

Neighbor Cynthia Holloway told the Free-Press that the art project and issues like the fires are problems for people who live there.

“It’s another black eye for Detroit,” she told the newspaper. “Detroit has enough problems.”

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