The Beach Times

What's the Story Behind the Blue Trees in Cotuit?
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 16, 2020

If you drive down Massachusetts Route 28 in Cotuit, you'll notice something very peculiar outside the Cahoon Museum of American Art.

That's because in the middle of this historic section of the village is a collection of blue trees. These trees aren't subtle at all, as their vibrant blue tone stands out against the museum's classic Cape Cod architecture, making passersby wonder what exactly is going on in Cotuit.

Well, it should without saying that the trees are not natural; they are covered with paint.

The paint is chalk-based, water-soluble, and environmentally safe, however, and is part of a project by internationally renowned artist Konstantin Dimopoulos.

The Cahoon Museum of American Art commissioned Dimopoulos to install this work of art as a commentary on the effects of deforestation on the planet. Similar pieces are present in Germany, England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, in addition to other American cities, making Cotuit part of a global movement. 

Make sure you stop by the museum when you travel to Cape Cod for a look at something you'll never witness in nature: blue trees.

Who is Konstantin Dimopoulos?

To understand The Blue Trees Project, it's best to get to know Konstantin Dimopoulos, a social artist, and sculptor who uses his artwork to engage in sociological, ecological, and humanist discussions, while encouraging socio-environmental change. Basically, he wants to save the planet and uses his art to get people talking about it.

So far, Dimopoulos' projects have been widely successful, notably The Blue Trees, where he creates a surreal environment in nature to draw attention to it. The trees typically blend into the rest of Cotuit's landscape, but when they're blue, people notice them.

Dimopoulos is also responsible for The Purple Rain, where he painted purple dots on buildings and sidewalks in Melbourne, Australia, as a commentary on homelessness. Each dot has the name of a homeless individual, in addition to a QR code that those passing through can scan to learn about that person's story. The idea is that homelessness, much like rain, arrives as a downpour. Dimopoulos hopes to humanize the homeless, raising awareness in the process.

Seeing the Blue Trees

There's good news and bad news when it comes to Cotuit's blue trees. The good news, as mentioned before, is that the paint used is water-soluble and, therefore, will wash away in the years to come. The speed by which the color deteriorates depends on local precipitation but, rest assured, the paint will wash away.

The bad news is that the washable paint means that the exhibit is only temporary, and there's no telling how long it'll be there for you to see.

Whether you're a fan of conceptual and social art, so you've simply never seen a blue tree before, it's best to get to Cotuit as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

Other Exhibits at the Gallery

Once you arrive at the Cahoon Museum of American Art, you'll realize that The Blue Trees aren't the only exhibit sitting outside of its doors.

In fact, the museum has an entire Streetside Series that you can check out without having to pay admission to the venue.

There are two bronze sculptures outside the building called "Head of the Cod" and "Tail of the Fish" that symbolize the historical, economic, and ecological significance of Atlantic cod in New England. The sculptures are outside the west entrance of the museum and are worth a look if you're in the area.

Another addition to the Streetside Series is called "Garden Grove," and it features sculptures by local artist Alfred Glover. The sculptures are a cluster of trees with leaves featuring depictions of dogs, flowers, baby birds, and other animals. All of the sculptures are created using recycled fuel tanks and are visible from the street.

Heading Inside

While you're looking outside of the Cahoon Museum of American Art, you might be tempted to head inside. And who wouldn't want to visit the Crocker House, which was built in 1782 and was once a local tavern?

Once inside, you'll find both historical and modern exhibits from local and national artists, making it a must-see while in Cotuit.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and free for members and children under 12. Annual membership is $40 for an individual, $60 for a couple, and $100 for a family. There are also artists and student memberships available for $25.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sundays between 1:00 and 4:00 PM during the high season.

If you're spending your vacation in the Cotuit area, make the Cahoon Museum of American Art part of your travel itinerary because you'll see original works of art just minutes from your Cape Cod vacation rental.

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