The Blue Trees: Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Blue Trees?
The Blue Trees
is an environmental community art installation by Konstantin Dimopoulos in which trees have been temporarily transformed with an environmentally safe blue colorant to foster awareness and discussion of global deforestation while engaging the community in an art activity and dialog.

Is the color safe?
The artist uses a non-toxic, water-based colorant. It is harmless to all flora, fauna, insects, waterways, and humans. The Blue Trees will gradually fade back to their natural color as the color washes away in the rain.

What is the color made of?
The biologically-safe colorant has been developed by the artist and is a proprietary formulation. Unlike paint, the chalk-based colorant has no binding agents and has been used for more than 20 years on Blue Trees projects around the globe. The colorant and its application are approved by 
Urban Foresters and host city governments, including Salem's Tree Warden and Tree Commission.

Why blue?
The artist created this unique shade of blue because “there are no naturally blue trees.” Dimopoulos hopes the trees will affect change in our social consciousness by sparking conversation and catalyzing community action.

How long will the trees be blue?
Rain and storm events will gradually wash away the color over time. The trees in Salem will likely remain blue for more than a year or two. No new colorant will be applied after the initial install.

Why were these trees chosen?
The trees were chosen by the artist based on their proximity to the museum, their overall health, the type of bark, and the artist’s vision to create a visual impact.

Are the trees on City property?
The trees on the Axelrod Walkway are all on PEM's campus and are property of the museum. The three young ginkgo trees on Essex Street were purchased by PEM, but they are on City property. The Museum brought the project before Salem's Tree Commission, which originally reviewed and approved the project in 2020 and again in 2022.

Did the City's tree warden approve of this project?
Yes, Salem's tree warden issued a permit for the project and Salem's Tree Commission fully endorsed the project.

Why is the PEM exhibiting The Blue Trees?
The museum is showcasing an outdoor environmental art installation as part of the museum’s new Climate + Environment Initiative and to honor the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day. The project is intended to catch people’s attention, raise awareness about global deforestation and climate change, and mobilize them to take action.

Where can I learn more?