The Heidelberg Project is art, energy, and community. It’s an open-air art environment in the heart of an urban community on Detroit’s East Side. Tyree Guyton, founder and artistic director, uses everyday, discarded objects to create a two block area full of color, symbolism, and intrigue. Now in its 25th year, the Heidelberg Project is recognized around the world as a demonstration of the power of creativity to transform lives.
Joan Witte, owner of Raven Loon Communications, is an award-winning professional with Public Relations Society of America accreditation and extensive communications experience in community relations, internal communications, and strategic planning. Her industry experience spans nonprofits and higher education as well as international Fortune 500 environments. Some of the organizations she has developed strategies for are Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Credit Company, The University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Ameritech, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Rock Financial, and GreenPath (formerly known as Credit Counseling Centers).
As Founder of the H.U.G.S. Foundation, Samuel Wells has the vision of allocating funds to communities and organizations that offer the most sustainable solutions to social and economic inequalities. As an advocate for change, Sam uses his background in music and business to help communities realize their true value and the vast amounts of resources at their disposal. While studying music composition at Wayne State University, Sam participated in a yearlong study aboard program at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. He experienced the dynamics of a country rich in cultural and natural resources yet plagued with poverty and underdevelopment. He continues to work with local Brazilian bands to spread awareness about the diverse musical styles and cultures this country has to offer. Sam hopes to use music as a tool to raise awareness on how culture and sustainable environmental practices can create a peaceful society. As a current graduate of Finance at Wayne State University, Samuel plans to lend his strategic and valuation skills to organizations focused on the overall wellbeing of mankind. He believes the combination of creativity and strategic policy is fundamental for growth and sustainability. The Artefacting program allows its team to unite efforts to promote a sense of community through art.
João Henrique Brandão was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1981. He studied at the EMBAP (School of Visual Arts and Music of Parana) earning his B.F.A. in Painting in 2007. While a student at EMBAP he participated in several volunteer projects throughout Curitiba: First in 2005 as a drawing instructor in the State Prison in Curitiba. And in 2006, the artist created ColorIlha, a workshop with the fishing community of Ilha do Mel (English Honey Island) aimed at using art to generate income for an ex-fisherman community. This served as the seeds to catalyze the low-income population handcraft techniques that could later produce handmade souvenirs for sale.
João Henrique Brandão arrived in the United States with an invitation to become an artist in residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, CT in 2008 and has been making/exhibiting his work in New York City since.