Art in the Environment

Posted by Christine, October 28, 2011

Mary Catherine O’Connor is following Christo’s progress with an art project:

In 1992, during a location-scouting trip, landscape artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude fell in love with the section of the Arkansas River that winds from Cañon City to Salida, Colorado. They imagined a series of large translucent canopies suspended over nearly six miles of a 42-mile stretch of the river. The project, called Over the River, would treat visitors on the water or on foot to shimmery views of the sky and surrounding peaks, while drivers on adjacent Highway 50 could view the panels from above.

Nearly 20 years, numerous local meetings, and $11 million later, the now-widowed Christo is still in love. He’s just waiting on a final decision from the Bureau of Land Management regarding a land-use permit he needs to begin the project. If he gets approval and collects a few other permits, the canopies will be built over a nearly two-and-a-half-year period and would remain up for viewing during two weeks in August of 2014.

Not everyone is enamored with the idea. Many local residents vehemently oppose the project, saying it will distrub the wildlife and create a traffic nightmare. They’ve formed a protest group named Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR).