Polka-dot protest

Mar 31, 1999 at 12:00 am

As the city of Detroit makes plans to tear down another portion of Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project on April 7, supporters are rallying to protect the city’s most famous piece of public art.

"This case affects all artists," says Jenenne Whitfield, executive director of the Heidelberg Project "Currently there are no specific laws that protect artists’ works or their rights."

According to attorney Greg Siwak, who represents Guyton, the artist recently received a letter from the city stating that parts of the project on city-owned property will be dismantled next Wednesday. But Siwak says the letter did not specify which lots are city-owned.

"We don’t even know what the playing field is," he says. "There are conflicting documents as to who owns the property."

In February, the city began dismantling part of the project about 90 minutes after Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Amy Hathaway lifted a temporary restraining order which prevented the city from acting earlier. That ruling limited the city to discard only the parts of the project that occupied city-owned property.

Spokespersons for the city did not return calls to the Metro Times.

Whitfield urges supporters to call 313-537-8037 for more information.