Hamtramck Disneyland is the folk art masterpiece of Dymtro Szylak. Szylak grew up in Ukraine and immigrated to the U.S. with his wife to the Hamtramck, MI home in the 1950s. After his retirement from General Motors in the mid-1980’s, Szlyak was looking for a hobby to fill his time and thus Hamtramck Disneyland was born.
The original artwork by Szylak took nearly 30 years to construct and was constantly being updated and modified by the artist and homeowner until his death at 92. The assemblage sculpture is built atop the two garages on the properties that he owned, filling the air with whimsical kinetic structures that light up and play music. The garages are painted in bright stripes and the space in between is filled with found photographs, posters, and classic Americana images mixed with those of the Europe of Szylak’s past.
When Szylak passed away in 2015, his estate was in limbo and without a plan to protect or keep the art. There was an immediate outpouring of concern for the future of the site. A group of residents and artists formed a group was able to secure the property and is leading the effort with Hatch Art to maintain and continue the legacy of Hamtramck Disneyland for future generations of Hamtramck residents and tourists alike. In addition to preservation, Hatch Art also uses the main house to host an artist in residence program where international artists can create works in conversation with Szylak’s work thereby securing the artistic importance of Szylak’s legacy for many years to come.
And you can see it buy getting your tickets here!