Weird Homes Tour – Detroit
Hamtramck Disneyland is the folk art masterpiece of Dymtro Szylak. Szylak grew up in Ukraine and immigrated to the Detroit area in the 1950s. After his retirement from General Motors in the mid-1980s, Szlyak needed a hobby to fill his time.
The original artwork took nearly 30 years to construct and Szylak continued to work on it until his death at 92. The main assemblage of kinetic sculptures stands atop the two back garages and absolutely fills the backyard. Szylak painted the garages bright stripes and filled the spaces in between with found photographs and posters. Classic Americana images are mixed with those of the Europe of Szylak’s past. The whole thing even lights up and plays music!
Unfortunately, Szylak passed away in 2015 without a plan to protect the art. Members of his family even wanted to take everything down. Fortunately for us though, there was an outpouring of concern by the community. A group of residents and artists formed a group that secured and preserved the property. Lead by Hatch Art, the legacy of Hamtramck Disneyland remains intact for future generations to enjoy. In addition to preservation, Hatch Art also uses the main house for ongoing creative collaborations. They host an artist in residence program where international artists can create works in conversation with Szylak’s work. With the help of those inspired by him, Szylak is still working on his masterpiece.