Hamtramck Disneyland sold to local art collective
Hamtramck — It looks like Hamtramck Disneyland in the Detroit enclave is here to stay.
The future of the eclectic collection of yard folk art created by Ukrainian immigrant Dmytro Szylak appeared grim after his death last May. But a Hamtramck art gallery collective called Hatch Art has purchased the property.
“It’s a done deal,” said Jan Dijkers, the realtor who represented Hatch Art in the sale, Friday. “It was sold today.”
She said the property, which covers two adjoining houses on Klinger, was on the market since March 3, 2016, and it was purchased for $100,000.
“We really had no idea what would happen to (the property) if we didn’t buy it and that’s why we fought so hard to make sure it stayed in the hands of an organization that is art-focused and is part of the community,” Dijkers said.
She said the art collective plans to restore and preserve Szylak’s sculptures and renovate the two houses on the property. The houses have four flats in them and three of them will be rented out to defray the costs of restoring and maintaining the sculptures, she said. The fourth flat will be used as an artist-in-residence space, she said.
Restoration work is expected to begin immediately, Dijkers said.
“The sooner they can get them renovated, the sooner they can start generating some cash flow,” she said.
Szylak, a retired General Motors employee, started assembling his masterpiece in the backyard of his small two-story house on Klinger more than 20 years ago.
Szylak lived in the home for more than 50 years with his wife and daughters. His wife died in 2008 at the age of 83 and his relationship with his daughters deteriorated after her death.
After Syzlak died at age 92, his estate became tied up in probate court and the fate of his collection of colorful pieces was unclear.
The collection includes a Ferris wheel that sits atop of the garage, mirrors and hand-crafted airplanes and miniature animals. A large colorful gate welcomes guests with the face of Mickey Mouse looming in the distance. Rockets and a merry-go-round horse are among the pieces in the backyard; framed photos of tigers, elephants and sunflowers cover the rustic walls of the garage door.
Every Labor Day weekend during the Hamtramck festival, Szylak would put out signs to encourage guests to take photos outside of his home.