From the Commercial Appeal's letters to the editor:
It's the river. Get it?
A few people have noticed a change in Midtown -- hundreds of trees on the parkways wrapped in blue bands. This temporary public art project by Tad Lauritzen Wright, part of the UrbanArt Commission's 10th anniversary celebration, is intended to make people see the environment in a new way.
It is unfortunate that a few people jumped to conclusions without stopping to take a closer look at the work. Assuming the city was planning to remove the trees, one parkway resident started removing the blue bands. On South Parkway, Tad and his volunteer installation team were threatened and told to go back to Germantown. The artist and most of his team live in Midtown. Tad even spent the last few years living on North Parkway, a fact that helped inspire this project.
It does not take a lot of thought to figure out that the blue represents the river and that the artist wanted to bring the river into the city. Unless we live or work Downtown, we often forget that the river is there. But it is the reason all of us are here, regardless of where we live in the tri-state region.
The work also speaks to another key element that defines our city -- trees. The blue line highlights how many trees there are along the Parkways. I am glad someone cares enough about the trees to take action should they be threatened. But as a city of trees we are doing far too little to ensure that we have a healthy green canopy 20 years from now.
Many of our trees are at the end of their life cycles. If we don't take care of our existing trees and replace those that have died, we will lose a key part of what makes Memphis such a special place.