A - Prairie Moon ~ B - The Heidelberg Project
A - PRAIRIE MOON
Prairie Moon Dance Hall, just outside of Cochrane, Wisconsin, opened in 1927 - the rafters rang with laughter and music until 1952 when the music stopped, seemingly for good. Herman Rusch, a retired farmer took over and transformed the Prairie Moon into a Museum a place to display his collection of curiosities. Described as a hodgepodge, the curiosities included strangely shaped wood, pieces of taxidermy and old machinery. Rusch also posted his philosophy of life in his museum what he called his Ten Commandments of how to live a long and joyful life, for example: Try and create some hobby. As doing nothing causes boredom. Boredom kills more people than any other cause. Following his own advice, Herman Rusch went outside and began to decorate the grounds of his museum with concrete and stone planters, self portraits, snakes, bears, towers and his masterpiece a 260-foot long fence of chiseled white rocks and red bricks, and arches molded from old iron wheels. In the years since his death the Prairie Moon has once again become an anchor for the community, bringing together amateur local historians, a judge and a pair of Wisconsin Dairy farmers.
B - THE HEIDELBERG PROJECT
Imagine driving in the heart of an inner-city community, and all of a sudden you make a right turn and the street just explodes with colour. And its like this whole street comes alive in the middle of this war, or in the middle of this chaos, says Janine Whitfield, executive director of Detroits Heidelberg Project. Once known as the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan fell on hard times after the rebellion of 1967 - a civil insurrection that almost ripped the heart out of the city. A massive exodus followed, leaving buildings and streets empty. One of the most exciting and unconventional efforts to turn the tide of urban decay has been in a neighborhood once thought to be one of the most dilapidated and dangerous, Heidelberg Street. Tyree Guyton is the creator and the founder of the Heidelberg Project, an internationally renown outdoor art environment that he began constructing in 1986. With a polka dot house as an anchor (the polka dots symbolizing diversity), The Heidelberg Project features art installations created by Tyree and members of the community. Despite city-ordered demolitions in 1991 and 1999, the project has continued to evolve and flourish, involving inner city children and suburban children and proving that change and pride are indeed possible on the streets of Detroit.