Digitally Preserving 3D Works of Art

Back in 1986, Tyree Guyton was encouraged by his grandfather to pursue his dream of using a paintbrush in a new way. Together, with the help of Guyton’s former wife and the neighborhood children, they embarked on a journey to reclaim their community. 

For his unique “canvas,” Guyton chose repurposed materials and found objects, most of which were salvaged from the streets of Detroit. Over time, he transformed vacant lots into “lots of art” and abandoned houses into “gigantic sculptures.” As a whole, the Heidelberg Project is a powerful open-air art installation that works to bring beauty and a sense of community to an underserved Detroit neighborhood. 

Each of Guyton’s creations is carefully devised to tell a story about the issues currently plaguing society. Because of this, the installation is ever-evolving and needed a digital platform capable of preserving retired artwork as well as educating the wider public on the Heidelberg mission.

In conjunction with the Heidelberg Project, Isobar designed and built a guided tour app, one that speaks directly to audiences, wherever they may be. The app allows visitors to take an interactive tour that explores a range of content tied to the history, construction, and inspiration behind each installation. As the Heidelberg Project evolves, Isobar will continue to leverage photogrammetry as a means of digitally preserving Guyton’s work as 3D models for future generations. The Heidelberg App is available for free on Google Play and Apple’s AppStore. In addition to the app, Isobar developed a first-of-its-kind Heidelberg Project Facebook filter. Playfully named, Heidelberg Your Face, the filter uses augmented reality and facial feature detection to bring Guyton’s outside-the-box artistic style to life.

Over decades of transformation, the Heidelberg Project has inspired generations to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and improve the social and economic health of their communities. Tyree Guyton’s current aims include even further transformation, as he looks to morph the community art project into a community art center known as Heidelberg 3.0. Featuring after-school programs, community events, and artist residencies, Heidelberg 3.0 will provide young artists the means to create without restraints.

As a non-profit community organization, the Heidelberg Project needs your help in continuing the education of art, a practice that builds a sense of self-worth and pride.

“The Heidelberg Project offers a forum for ideas, a seed of hope, and a bright vision for the future. It’s about taking a stand to save forgotten neighborhoods. It’s about helping people think outside the box and it’s about offering solutions. It’s about healing communities through art—and it’s working!” –– The Heidelberg Project