Volunteers needed to color trees blue in downtown Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

Volunteers needed to color trees blue in downtown Breckenridge

Courtesy of Breckenridge Creative Arts
Courtesy of Breckenridge Creative Arts |

Register to volunteer

To select and register for a volunteer shift to assist with “The Blue Trees” installation, or for availabilities and special arrangements for organizations, groups or teams, contact Heather Pease, director of events and special projects for Breckenridge Creative Arts, by email at heather@breckcreate.org or by phone at (970) 453-3187, ext. 3. Visit http://www.breckcreate.org/volunteer to learn more.

Breckenridge Creative Arts is seeking volunteers from Thursday, Aug. 13, through Sunday, Aug. 16, to assist with an environmental installation titled “The Blue Trees,” a socially-driven art action, which will be a featured attraction at the inaugural Breckenridge International Festival of Arts.

Created and conceived by Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos, “The Blue Trees” project will temporarily and dramatically transform trees in downtown Breckenridge. Using biologically safe, water-based mineral pigment, Dimopoulos and a team of community volunteers will color trees a striking ultramarine blue, inspiring awareness and discussion about global deforestation. An ephemeral work, the trees will gradually revert back to their natural state.

“The fact that blue is a color that is not naturally identified with trees suggests to the viewer that something unusual, something out of the ordinary has happened. It becomes a magical transformation,” Dimopoulos said. “Trees are largely invisible in our daily lives, and it’s not until it’s too late that we realize how important they are to us — both aesthetically and environmentally.”

Over the course of the four days, Dimopoulos will engage community members of all ages to help transform select groups of aspen and cottonwood trees from the Riverwalk Center parking lot, across the Blue River to the Blue River Plaza in downtown Breckenridge.

Volunteer registration

The community’s involvement is needed to help make the project a success. Volunteers will be coloring trees with guidance from the artist, as well as moving drop-cloths, filling buckets with water, washing brushes, answering questions from the public, etc.

These are the tree-coloring shifts at Blue River Plaza; details will be provided to volunteers upon registration:

• 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13

• 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14

• 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15

• 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16

Tools and gloves will be provided. Volunteers should wear closed-in shoes and very old clothing. The colorant washes off the skin with soap and water. To ensure adequate quantities of tools and supplies, volunteers must preregister in order to participate. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.

Why blue trees?

Every year, the planet loses some 32 million acres of forests — trees that transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, helping to sustain life. Deforestation contributes to climate change. Trees breathe for the planet, and, without them, appropriate conditions for human, animal and plant life may not be sustained.

“Through my work, I am striving to address global issues and provide a visual platform to effect change,” Dimopoulos said. “So many universal concerns seem larger than an individual’s power of influence, and I want to evoke in people the idea that we can all contribute to change in a positive way.”

Color is a powerful stimulant, a means of altering perception and defining space and time. Blue is a color that is not naturally identified with trees and suggests that something unique is happening. In nature, color is used both as a means of protection and as a mechanism to attract. “The Blue Trees” is an attempt to elicit a similar response from viewers and inspire conversation and action around deforestation issues.

Facts and questions

Q: Is the color safe for the trees?

A: The ultramarine blue color is biologically and environmentally safe. It is a water-based colorant, not paint and, as such, has a different composition. The product was specifically developed for this project and has been utilized in multiple installations without causing damage to the trees or their surrounding environment.

Q: How does this project benefit the public?

A: “The Blue Trees” seeks to raise awareness and encourage discussion about the benefits of trees and forests for people and the planet. Forests provide many ecological, social and economic benefits, including retaining and filtering storm water, replenishing groundwater for streams and lakes, providing fish and wildlife habitat, sequestering carbon and releasing oxygen that we breathe and beautification of our communities and local landscape.

Q: Who is Konstantin Dimopoulos?

A: Konstantin Dimopoulos was born in Egypt and currently resides in Melbourne, Australia. He graduated from university in New Zealand with a degree in sociology and psychology and later studied art in London. Dimopoulos describes himself as a humanist, using his art practice — from studio works to site-specific installations — to address social and environmental issues.

Q: Where can I learn more?

A: To learn more about “The Blue Trees” exhibit in Breckenridge, access the mobile tour at breckcreate.org/thebluetrees. For information on the artist, visit http://www.kondimopoulos.com/thebluetrees.

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