Rebecca “Bucky” Willis

Bleeding Heart Design

A native of Northeast Detroit, Rebecca “Bucky” Willis holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Detroit Mercy. Bucky has volunteered and worked for a number of non-profit organizations in Detroit, including the Foundation for Agricultural Resources in Michigan (F.A.R.M), Habitat for Humanity, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and Detroit Future City.

 The heart of her design career and research lies at the point where architecture and design meet social issues and emotional impact.  This career and research focus inspired her to create the concept (and later, an organization) of Bleeding Heart Design - a design process that inspires altruism.

What is a Bleeding Heart? People who think holistically and become more aware of their social responsibilities are “bleeding hearts”. This concept sheds light on the consciousness that people are all interconnected and need each other in some way.

What is Bleeding Heart Design? Bleeding heart design (b.h.d) is an organization dedicated to spreading altruism and strengthening communities through thoughtful design and the sharing of skills and services. Overall, it aims to combat negativity and apathy, and instead, empower individuals to invest in and connect with other positive, like-minded people within their community in order to improve humanity. 

Since it began in 2012, b.h.d has completed a number of public art projects and installations in the Lindale Gardens community of Detroit near the State Fair Rd. and I-75 area. Some of these projects include building an outdoor community stage in an abandoned lot, flipping the façade of an abandoned liquor store and repurposing it as a community bulletin board and drenching an entire dilapidated house in colorful paint. The Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) at the University of Detroit Mercy is currently b.h.d’s fiduciary and serves as a key partner in community development and participatory design methods for b.h.d.