Rags Over the River - Locals Against Famous Artists Christo and Jeanne Claude  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm not just an artist. I consider myself a bit of an instigator and advocate. Two of my most prominent passions; Animal Welfare with an emphasis on wildlife, and a voice for artists - no matter what their medium.

A while back ago, our little area of Colorado had the honor of several visits from world-renown artists Christo and Jeanne Claude, but they weren't exactly greeted with wide open arms.
It's (Over The River project|Project for Arkansas River|State of Colorado) has been quite a controversy here and folks are very divided and some quite angry!

The issue is Christo's wanting to drape the Arkansas River with special translucent fabric panels for a period of 14 days, in which time they will of course gather tons of photos that I'm sure they plan to market.

The area, to be exact, is Big Horn Sheep Canyon, and is home to a fair sized herd of Big Horn Sheep as well as huge tourist attractions; the Royal Gorge Canyon and Bridge as well as one of the best areas for white water rafting.

"...The project is planned as a two-week summer display affecting as much as 45 miles of the river between Salida and CaƱon City. Estimates indicate the project won't be through the permit process until summer 2011 at the earliest..." Jason Starr, Staff Writer of the Mountain Mail reported.

ROAR(Rags Over the Arkansas River) objects to the artists' plans pointing out that the impact of the project might affect wildlife, vegetation, and tourism for some years to come.
As I studied this project I came to the realization that at first glance this seems to be very easy to put down - I was against it because of the potential wildlife habitat risk, until I actually became more familiar with the facts.

The artists have went to great lengths to secure everything, from worker's meals to trash removal. Everything's been covered, and my impression is that they care a great deal for the environment, the people impacted, and especially the wildlife and local residents.
They do, on the other hand, stand to garner a great deal of profit from this project as well.

If you are interested in learning more about the "Over the River Project" please click on these links to be presented with both sides of the debate:


Condensed Summary of Christo’s Over the River (OTR) Plan1

So the time-honored question lives; is it art?

What do you think about this; art/not art, yes/no on project?

Thanks for "stopping by the shop!"

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4 comments: to “ Rags Over the River - Locals Against Famous Artists Christo and Jeanne Claude

  • Pamela,
    July 22, 2009 at 6:58 AM  

    I had not heard of this project before, as an environmental horticulturist and an artist I can see some of both sides of this. But this project could cause a lot of problems with the environment. The people involved in building and cleanup are not perfect humans, mistakes can be made which could impact the lives of fish birds and many other species. I will have to read more about it to make a more informed opinion though.

  • Deer Mountain Creations
    July 22, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

    Hi Pam,
    That is the conundrum! Both sides make valid points, which leaves one torn.
    Hopefully, you all know how passionate I am about the animals, and as a community, we've worked very hard to see that the Big Horn Sheep survive here! Almost every few years some idiot decides they want a trophy and take out one of the big males, leaving the fragile herd devastated.
    Therefore, my main concern, the Big Horn, are already in a compromised situation and don't need any more strikes against them.
    Needless to say, what this might do to the rest of the wildlife!
    But on the other side, it does seem the Christo is taking every precaution to make as little an impact as he can, but as you say, mistakes are made, and humans are fallible!
    I don't know. Just how important is it for artists to be able to express their ideas, in this manner? What is the reason(s) he wants to do this?
    There are still too many questions. I wouldn't want to stifle anyone, but...?
    Please be sure to post your conclusion Pam, I'm most anxious to hear what you come up with :)

  • FishHawk
    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 AM  

    "Deer Mountain Wood Art" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope you like the image I featured, and I hope this helps to attract many new visitors (not to mention customers!) here.


  • Deer Mountain Creations
    July 24, 2009 at 6:33 AM  

    Thank you! It's wonderful to be included :D

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