UF to host 'Blue Trees,' an internationally renowned artistic exhibit

Published: October 8 2012

Category:Announcements, In Focus, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This fall, trees will change color, but not all of them will change naturally. From Oct. 15-19, the University of Florida will host the “Blue Trees,” an internationally renowned artistic project by Konstantin Dimopoulos.

Dimopoulos, an Australian artist, will work with UF students to color trees on campus, using environmentally safe pigmented water. The colorant will be a vibrant blue. Through the installation, Dimopoulos aims to increase awareness about the threat of global deforestation. He also hopes to spread the message that trees should not be an ordinary, almost invisible, part of life, because they are important aesthetically and environmentally.

UF is presenting “Blue Trees” in part to showcase the land-grant university system’s 150th anniversary, UF’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and the value of public art. The exhibit was made possible through the UF Office of the Provost, with additional tourism marketing support from VisitGainesville.

“Public art is a great way to involve different departments on campus,” said Anna Heineman, the project director for “Blue Trees.” “It’s a great way for students to work alongside an internationally renowned artist. Hopefully in the end, people will be more aware of their environment, of the issues Konstantin addresses through his work and the role of art in transmitting and producing knowledge.”

In February, the advanced residential landscape design class at UF helped Heineman choose trees for the project. Selection criteria included visibility of the trunks and branches, varieties of species and location on campus. The class also considered the size of the trees and whether the branches could be reached for coloring. The Lakes, Vegetation and Landscaping Committee at UF approved the selected trees.

Dimopoulos will choose what trees he will color from the group of trees the horticulture class selected. Five or six groupings of trees will be colored. The colorant will naturally degrade with rain, and the trees are expected to gradually revert to their natural state within six to 12 months from the time they are colored.

A cellphone tour, made possible by the City of Gainesville’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, will be included in the exhibit. Individuals can call the number provided next to a colored tree to learn about the significance of the tree and how it benefits the environment.

There will be a welcome ceremony for Dimopoulos at noon Oct. 17 at the Reitz Student Union. Lucinda Lavelli, the dean of the UF College of Fine Arts, will introduce the artist. Joseph Glover, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UF, and Dimopoulos will speak. The event will be open to the public, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask Dimopoulos questions about his work.

Dimopoulos will also speak at a panel at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Harn Museum of Art. The panel is part of a three-part series called Aesthetic Agents, in celebration of the Morrill Act Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebration. Artists speaking at the panel will discuss civic engagement and sustainable initiatives through the lens of their art projects.

For more information on “Blue Trees” or information about volunteer opportunities, contact Heineman at 352-273-3045 or amheinem@ufl.edu.

Dimopoulos specializes in sculpture, installation and performance art. Through The “Blue Trees” project was first created in Melbourne, Australia, in 2005 and appeared at the Vancouver Biennale in March 2011. The trees have also been featured in New Zealand and Seattle. To learn more about his work, visit www.kondimopoulos.com.


Steve Orlando, sfo@ufl.edu, 352-392-0186
Brittany Borsanyi

Category:Announcements, In Focus, Top Stories