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Inside Hamtramck Disneyland

The folk-art installation lives on

Hamtramck Disneyland Michelle & Chris Gerard

Earlier this spring, Hamtramck Disneyland, the folk art installation created by Ukranian immigrant Dymtro Szylak, was up for sale. Szylak died in May 2015 and a community effort was underway to save the public art destination. Hatch Art, a local art collective, bought the two houses that make up the property, and now they’re asking the community for support.

Hatch Art launched a new fundraising campaign through Patronicity to support the project to preserve and revive the one-of-a-kind outdoor, folk art installation as well as establish an artist residency program and gallery space for the community.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by Aug. 20, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Public Spaces Community Places program.

Hamtramck Disneyland Homes Michelle & Chris Gerard

Funds raised through this campaign will be used to renovate this neighborhood landmark. The two garages/structures on which the art installation was built need to be repaired and updated. One of the garages will house a gallery and stage. An international artist residency program will be established for artists that engage the community. Hatch Art will have regular events, exhibitions, and performances once the project is completed.

According to the fundraising site, "The money raised will go to supply materials and support to do this work:

Reframe and replace the roofs of the garages that support the artwork.

Clean up and maintain properties for public access and residential use.

Make critical repairs and update the houses for residential use

Reconstruct structural elements of the artwork.

Install security cameras and wireless network.

Install public safety lighting.

Retrofit the interior of the garages as a public exhibition space and an artist’s studio.

Rewire the electrical to power the lights, music, and mechanics of the artwork.

Replace and redesign the motorized components of the moving pieces.

Establish and maintain a "Hamtramck Disneyland" Archive for public access.

Design and coordinate a docent program for public engagement.

Establish and operate an artists' residency program"

We visited Hamtramck Disneyland this past weekend. The two houses on the property are somewhat trapped in time, but really only need cosmetic renovations. The houses will be used for local and out-of-state artist residency programs.


"Hamtramck Disneyland has been a landmark in the city for 30 years," says Scott Collins, President of Hatch Art. "It's a great example of Hamtramck history, immigrant history, and the independent arts scene."


You can view Hamtramck Disneyland from the alley between Klinger and Sobieski streets north of Commor Avenue in Hamtramck. The fundraising campaign runs through August 20.

Hamtramck Disneyland

12089 Klinger, Hamtramck, MI 48212