Remember the anti-litter campaign of the 1970s when the American Indian canoed down an idyllic river (the American? Sacramento?) until he's assaulted with a pile of trash. He's heartbroken. A tear falls.
That Indian might as well be in Sacramento today.
A so-called "global public performance artist" and local volunteers painted 20 trees at the Sacramento Convention Center "electric blue," which seems right on the one hand, since looking at it sends an electric shock through the system. They deformed our natural urban forest in the hopes of attracting more tourists, promoting our trees, and creating some buzz around arts.
It's a stupid, infuriating, sad idea, detailed in a recent story in The Bee. ("Out of the blue, trees send an environmental message," Page B1, Oct. 10). Who paints nature as art, especially to draw tourists? I always thought one of Sacramento's great selling points was its beauty the natural valley setting, surrounded by two rivers, and home to more trees per capita than any city in the world besides Paris. Sacramento's trees are one of its greatest treasures. Tourists come here for its tranquillity, not its electric shock treatments.
The marketing geniuses who thought they could attract visitors with garish blue trees might just have the luck of the Irish. Fortunately, Sacramento is probably too small to attract late-night TV jokes.
Leave the trees alone. They are beautiful, especially now, in the fall, when they form canopies over the streets in a quilt of orange, red, yellow, brown, gold.
The Sacramento tree association was apparently snookered by a snake oil salesman peddling his nontoxic, environmentally friendly blue substance that will somehow end deforestation. The foundation ought to have more respect for our local tree lineage.
Why are there so many trees in Sacramento? Sacramento needed shade for its terrible summer heat, and Capitol Park's divine 40-acre garden need to be protected from roving cattle. So John Sutter planted 2,000 fruit trees along the rivers, and thus was born Sacramento Valley's agricultural industry, and the rest is history. You don't see anything here about planting trees for art exhibits.
What's next? Paint Mount Whitney pink so more people see it? Or how about a purple Half Dome? Or a new campaign to "Keep Tahoe Red"?
I can't for the life of me imagine the audacity to take the people's trees and paint them. How do I teach my children not to carve their initials in the redwoods when they see that their own city leaders defaced a once proud brown bark?
The $25,000 raised for this embarrassing exhibit would be better spent on hiring guards to protect the over 800 trees in Capitol Park from the "artist's" dangerous blue brush.