Christo's Arkansas River Project Gets Green Light
Bulgarian-born Christo has won a drawn-out battle to push through his large-scale artistic project along the Arkansas River.
The Bureau of Land Management in the American state of Colorado initially demanded modifications in the project, fearing the impact on environment, but Christo did not agree.
Christo Javacheff and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, who are famous for their unorthodox, large-scale artistic projects, first presented the "Over the River" project in 1992.
It is to be constructed on the Arkansas River near Ca?on City, Colorado on the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains, and provides for horizontally suspending 6.7 miles (about 10 km) of reflective, translucent fabric panels high above the water, on steel cables anchored into the river's banks. Those are to be installed in eight spots along the river within a range of close to 70 km.
Project plans call for its installation for two weeks during the summer of 2014 and for the river to remain open to recreation during the installation.
"Drawing visitors to Colorado to see this work will support jobs in the tourism industry and bring attention to the tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, as cited by the New York Times.
"We believe that steps have been taken to mitigate the environmental effects of this one-of-a-kind project."
"We are elated," Christo said. "Every artist in the world likes his or her work to make people think. Imagine how many people were thinking, how many professionals were thinking and writing in preparing that environmental impact statement."
Federal officials said that "Over the River" could generate USD 121 M in economic output and draw 400,000 visitors, both during the construction — which could become its own tourist event — and the display itself.
Similar past works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude include the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24-mile-long artwork called Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York City's Central Park.
Their projects have been opposed before – The Gates in the NYC Central Park was only permitted in 2005 by the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, even though it was first proposed by the artists in 1979.