Thank you from Christo

As 2010 comes to a close, Christo and the Over The River team want to thank our many supporters for all their help over the past year. Thousands of you took the time to write supportive letters to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and others volunteered countless hours over the summer helping to share information about the project. Your support is deeply appreciated by Christo and the entire Over The River team. Thank you!

A decision on Over The River is expected from the BLM this spring when they release the Final Environmental Impact Statement. In the meantime, we have a few updates for you:

Action 22 Endorses Over The River

We are very pleased to announce that Action 22 has formally endorsed Over The River. Action 22 is the largest regional advocacy organization for southern Colorado and represents 22 counties. The current chair of the board is Mike Bandera, Vice President and General Manager of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, who has also expressed his support of Over The River individually. Christo thanks Action 22 for their support!

Watch Christo Describe Over The River

Renowned filmmaker Antonio Ferrera, who directed The Gates documentary, has produced a series of short videos that feature Christo speaking eloquently about his plans and artistic vision for Over The River. You can view the videos on our website, or become a fan on our Facebook page where all the clips are posted.

Westword Reviews Over The River Exhibition

Westword art critic Michael Paglia wrote an excellent article last month about Over The River and the current exhibition on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver. He describes the exhibition at MCA Denver as “beautiful and coolly elegant.” The Over The River exhibit includes several collages, drawings, maps, photos and materials that chronicle the development of the project since Christo and Jeanne-Claude first proposed it 17 years ago. The exhibition will be at MCA Denver through January 19, 2011.

Thanks again for supporting Over The River. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and all the best in the New Year ahead!

The OTR Team and Friends of Over The River


Over The River is a two-week temporary work of art by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. For more information, visit our website at

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

23 Responses to “Thank you from Christo”

  1. Cathey Young

    Christo and the FOTR can thank all the people they want. The people who will be most at risk, who live, work and enjoy the canyon do not want the project. Ask them. They are the majority of the 5500 people who have signed a petition asking that BLM permission not be granted for the project. They are the ones who have donated significant funds to help ROAR educate the public about the true negative effects of the project. The media campaign promoting OTR, and the minions on Christo's payroll haven't a chance of convincing the general public of the proposed benefits. If you call a duck a swan 400, 4,000 or 40,000 times, it still doesn't make it a swan.

    Like (0)
    • MN

      In regard to Ms Young's post, I might mention that a lie repeated often enough, has the possibility of becoming a truth in the minds of people that don't bother to research what they hear, and believe the person spewing forth the drivel. The only way to counter this sort of behavior (which Christo's PR firm is championing) is to state the un-embellished facts, which they can't counter. A Huge thank you to ROAR, Colorado Wild, Earth Justice, the old broads for wilderness, the 5500 petition signers and anyone else actively fighting for our way of life, the wildlife and the ecology / economy of Chaffee and Fremont Counties and a big boo hiss to Friends of OTR for their only telling part of the story. A lie by omission is still a lie. Cherry picking facts is lying by omission.

      Like (0)
  2. bill whiting

    The OTR project constitutes a colossal eyesore for the Arkansas river valley. I'm sure it will be impressive, but it is not worthwhile. Let him wrap the Washington Monument or waste his money elsewhere. Obscuring the beauty of the Arkansas river provides no benefit except to pump Christo's ego.

    What is the address of the BLM?

    Like (0)
  3. JT

    The debate continues . I believe I know which side will prevail and am just waiting to see what happens . Do we know when the final word will be issued ? Thank You .

    Like (0)
  4. Mark Minor

    After being banned from SC by bd, I've got to come out of forced retirement for this one. To quote a commenter above: "The people who will be most at risk, who live, work and enjoy the canyon do not want the project. Ask them." OK, ask me. I live in Howard, and have no problem with this project, or should I say, the problems that I have are small compared to the greater issues of freedom, societal openness to new ideas, and artistic expression being decided here. And to boot, I just saw this, published on a blog for Westword:

    The international art star known for his sweeping outdoor installations has again chosen Colorado to be the site of one of his remarkable undertakings. A generation ago, he installed a vibrant orange screen across the Rifle Gap in what was called "Valley Curtain," and now he'd like to do "Over the River" along the Arkansas River, a series of fabric canopies that will stretch over the channel. This latter project, being giving a once-over in a show still open at MCA Denver, has not earned an official OK yet. And it's got a lot of opposition, including some environmentalists -- though not others -- and a more shrill chorus of complainers who are nothing other than a bunch of art-haters. Hopefully Christo will vanquish his foes, but he sure could use the help of his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, who was a force to be reckoned with and who'd put those rubes in their places.

    Wow, that's how I would like my area to be known to the rest of the cultured world, as a "shrill chorus of complainers" and "art haters" (sarcasm intended). Well, for the record, we are NOT all reactionary "shrill-billies" down-canyon. So, please, whatever side you are on, do not paint the whole population of the canyon with one big shrill brush.

    And if you still feel the need to hate, try hating on something more worthy of hate, like expensive wars of occupation, for example. Thanks

    Like (0)
  5. Jack Chivvis

    To all those who criticize Christo and the OTR concept for its obscuring of the natural beauty of the canyon I will say this; What about all the ugly houses,trailers,sheds,power lines, assorted junk etc. that has been added to the canyon landscape in just the last 30 years that will NEVER go away? If anything is "ruining" the beauty of the canyon it is all this permanent development. Christo's vision is for something unique, beautiful AND temporary.

    Like (0)
  6. JT

    I don't care to see the junk either . A little clean up would be nice . I like art to some degree but I don't care to see the canyon walls assaulted just to hang the fabric . It would be cool if Christo could do his project without all of the drilling .

    Like (0)
  7. Hoosier Daddy

    Yep, it's not pristine that's for sure, but the power lines and houses etc are not harming the sheep, the populace, the fishing and hunting industries or endangering life for 3 long years of construction, and 3 to 5 years of subsequent reclamation either, which OTR WILL do. Wish Christo would drape the royal gorge instead, at least they want it. It's simply too much for the canyon. Have you heard the latest ? They are proposing to clearcut 2 to 5 HUNDRED acres to mitigate the impacts to the sheep. Yeah, "temporary" work of art. Some guy wrote a letter to the MM calling Christo a frustrated tailor. I think he and that Steve Coffin from the publicity firm are pulling the wool over a lot of people's eyes.

    Like (0)
  8. MN

    Well, I certainly am not an art hater, however I am vehemently against this mess happening in the canyon, and yes I live here. There is not one single compelling reason for this to happen, given the consequences that according to the BLM are very real, and significant.

    There are however many compelling reasons to put it somewhere else where the impacts aren't nearly as severe, and the risk to life, both human and wild, and the impacts to the environment and the ecology, local businesses that depend on the resources the canyon has to survive, positive instead of decidedly negative, which the tarps are.

    Like (0)
  9. CNH

    @Mark Minor - and here is the comment I left at Westword following the article you cited. The editor later contacted me for permission to use it in the print version.
    "People like you are among the sheep who blindly follow the self-serving shepherd, i.e. Christo. Like you said, you are "lucky" to be just a few hours drive from this OTR debacle. I live here. I work here. In fact, my livelihood depends on river and highway access that he will make impossible to access. Try a 3-year construction and tourist project in your office and see how it works out for you.
    As for "hating" art - I am a retired symphony violinist with a family history of visual and performing arts. This is not about "art." It's about destroying the lives and livelihood of a string of communities in a narrow mountain canyon. Educate yourself and find out what the effects of this egomaniac's 3-year construction and looky-loo project will do to the lives of human and wildlife residents here. The art is ok, the location is a disaster for those of us who live and work here. You love it? Have it in your yard, not mine."
    Thanks to MN & Hoosier Daddy for your comments. Well said!

    Like (0)
  10. Mark Minor

    To "CNH":
    Lucky for you that you are "retired". I am currently very much working, and that work is very much in the art field today, not in the past. You can look at my website and see this. My livelihood absolutely depends on having car/truck access to the Front Range museums as well as those in Santa Fe. It is my economic lifeline. For me and my two kids. I do not have the slightest fear of my work life being cut off or imperiled--- the only problems I've ever had travel-wise in the canyon here have been from the LP gas truck crashes (two of them) which closed Hwy 50 both ways, and the CDOT cliff stripping near Coaldale. Oh, and the radioactive uranium ore truck that crashed at the Swissvale curves. I've never heard a peep of concern by anyone about curtailing any of the activities that lead to those episodes--life continued, and continues, in spite of them. So no, I do not have any fear whatsoever that the highway will be "impossible to access". That's a tad extreme, don't you think? "Impossible" is a very big word that by definition denies all possibilities. And "destroying lives"? Please. That goes beyond mere hyperbole and into the realm of paranoia.

    Just a curious note....why is it that nearly all of the people voicing their opinions in favor of the Christo project use their real, legal names, and 90% of those who are against it go by anonymous initials or screen-tags? If one has the courage to voice their opinions, they should have the courage to attach their name to them.

    Like (0)
  11. CNH

    OK Mark, I am retired as a violinist, having moved on for various reasons, and work as a flyfishing guide. I have made an extensive, in-depth study of Christo's engineering, construction and traffic reports, read ALL of the DEIS, analyzed every single fact, figure, number and schedule proposed by Christo and his engineering team. Simple addition of their highway-side construction days, hours, times, predicted delays proves that the flyfishing industry in Bighorn Sheep Canyon will NOT be able to operate for THREE YEARS. The flyshop owners in Canon City and Salida know this, and are extremely concerned about losing their livelihood, their businesses, and everything they have worked for for years. If I lose my job with them, I will not be able to pay my mortgage. If that isn't destroying my life, I don't know what is. No exaggeration, no little 1-time accident here or there, but 3 full income seasons lost to us all.
    My opinions, letters to editors, and feature articles requested of me by national publications such as LA Times and National Geographic have made my name very well known on this position. I just hold back locally because of the abuse and name-calling from OTR "friends" who accuse me of bordering on paranoia.

    Like (0)
  12. JT

    I enjoy reading the ongoing debates on all of the topics on the Salida Citizen website and I really could care less if people use their name or initials .

    Like (0)
  13. Mark Minor

    To "CNH" and "JT" et al....
    The initials/tags thing unfortunately isn't quite as innocuous these days as one would think. Especially on topics that involve political, environmental, and economic decisions. I assume you all are aware of the concept of "astroturfing". There are PR firms out there now who deal in nothing other than flooding comments areas on blogs with a client's talking points, as yet another tool to nudge public perception and opinion. Sounds Orwell, I know, but it is real. Here's a good article about the phenomena:

    Please, I am not accusing anyone here of being of that ilk. No. It just seems that the only way, truly, to insure an honest public input these days is to move away from anonymity. Knowing who people are that voice opinions would insure that PR firms aren't hiring someone in Ohio to try and sway politics here. If we all, as a rule, could not hide behind anonymity, there would be another layer of honesty in our discourse. They would be more civil, as well.

    Funny that you mentioned fishing. As a practicing Zen Buddhist, I find the idea of putting a sharp hook into a sentient being, for pleasure, barbaric. That's my opinion. Mine to have, mine to believe, and mine to express. In expressing that opinion on this site, though, I have been personally ridiculed. So be it. I can live with that. But it would have been a whole lot easier to do so anonymously, and not have to deal with meeting people who are passionately on the other side of the "aisle" in Safeway or whatever. Or think of the fallout in future jobs or what have you. But that is not how one stands up for things they truly believe in.

    So, again my opinion, public debate is better served when it is not anonymous.

    Like (0)
  14. Jack Chivvis

    There are plenty of things that Mr. Mark Minor and I can (and have) disagreed on. But this one thing is certain, when someone such as Mark steps up to the "podium" and states who he is, what he does and why he believes certain things I cannot help but listen and have respect. The Salida Citizen is just a modern version of an old town hall meeting, you can sit in a dark corner and mumble or you can stand up and be heard.

    Like (0)
  15. Joseph Thomas ( JT )

    My dad loves to fish , I enjoy it but it's not at the top of my to do list . Mark , If you are opposed to it that's ok , my son wants nothing to do with it either and describes it alot like you did . But to spend quality time with my pop , I'll do it as long as I can . Once he's gone things certainly won't be the same . So all I can do is savor the moments . And later on I'll give the fish a break .

    Like (0)
    • Mark Minor

      We can agree to disagree. That's a beautiful thing. And I wish my dad was still around to share time with--that's probably more important for you than all this hullaballoo now.

      Like (0)
  16. cory

    I should begin by saying I have bounced back and forth, but ultimately I have decided to support OTR. That said, I feel I must share my experience of Cristo's previous project while I lived in Rifle. Christo's previous Colorado project was located at an area known as Rifle Gap. Unfortunately, the signs of the project are still very prevalent. Steel and concrete still litter the sides of Rifle gap even though it's been over 40 years since the project. I strongly suggest that those close to the current project work diligently to ensure that this doesn't happen to our community (and bonus points to those who can encourage Christo to clean up his old mess in Rifle before he starts a new one). Once done, Christo will move along to his next project, but our local supporters will still be here. Help Christo and our comumunity by making sure that our canyon will be returned to it's current state of beauty. Don't be left getting blamed for supporting a project that scarred our canyon. Cristo will move on, we are the ones who'll be accountable for what is left.

    Like (0)
  17. Jack Chivvis

    I find it interesting that those in opposition to OTR and many who are swept along with that tide again and again refer to the Rifle Gap project as proof that Christo leaves a big mess wherever he goes. First and foremost that project was done on PRIVATE land. Second, the owner of that land asked that the the concrete anchors be left behind as a monument to the project. I have also read that the site is now a small tourist attraction. If Christo is such a "messy guy" why is Rifle Gap the only thing that can be pointed to? I urge everyone who is interested in this debate to dig a little deeper and research some of Christo's projects where he has actually gone in and cleaned up an area BEFORE doing his installation.

    Like (0)
  18. cory

    Sorry Jack. I can tell by your tone I upset you and that you missed the intent of my post. First, I support OTR. Second, we agree that concrete and steel are still there. I honestly didn't know it was private land. It lies at the foot of the dam. I figured that it was still part of the Colorado State Park or the BLM area to the North. I've seen the sign as a monument (I parked next to it numerous times when hiking in the area). I didn't I think that the concrete and steel up on the hillsides were part of this monument.
    I feel that in this case people frequently refer to Rifle Gap because, it stands to reason that people are going to be most familiar with the project in their state.
    It sounds like you can assuage my fears and that a mess will not be left. In the future, I would suggest a softer tone (passive agressive cheapens the debate). I only posted because of my first hand knowledge of the area and I thought it was something we as a community could learn from as we embark on our own project.

    Like (0)
  19. Jack Chivvis

    No, Cory you did not upset me So sorry if I sounded that way. I have been embroiled in this debate for nearly 10 years now and am just tired of hearing about the so called "leftover mess" at Rifle Gap and just wanted to keep the record straight. Glad that you are now a supporter.

    Like (0)
  20. Marshall Nichols (MN)

    Rifle Gap is irrelevant, except in the sense that it was erected using faulty engineering assumptions, and blew down shortly after it was "blossomed", thankfully not injuring, or killing anyone like the umbrellas display did.
    In the DEIS document, faulty engineering assumptions are mentioned as something that would need to investigated further. Seems prudent as Christo's projects are more focused on art than public safety. If Christo wanted to tarp 1500 feet of the river, down in Parkdale where there's little to impact, which would take a month or 2 to construct, and a month to take down, I wouldn't have a problem with it. 3 years of construction and dismantling is too much, and the subsequent 3 to 5 years of proposed reclamation.. Come on. That's an unreasonable expectation of the residents to deal with OTR for 6 to 8 YEARS, and then take into account the impacts to the sheep, raptors, on and on yadda yadda yadda. It's easy to support it if you don't live here in the canyon. I do, and I am against it.

    Like (0)
  21. Joseph Thomas ( JT )

    Absolutely . I 've got to add that I think this is a great website and I appreciate all of the work that goes into keeping this site up and the stories coming to us . I am truly thankful to be part of the community in Salida . Have a good day .

    Like (0)