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Colorado’s Step Into Art History

Have you ever stopped in your tracks and gazed at the beautiful architecture of a nicely crafted building? Have you ever sat and admired a truly gifted fashion designer mix colors and fabrics and patterns together to craft something amazing? If this generally does not describe you, then I can understand why you may not understand the art of Christo. And if this does not describe you, then you do not have artistic sensibilities and should really not be making judgments on the quality of his work.

Personally, I have read and seen pictures of many of Christo’s works with great admiration, wishing only that I was older in age to have had the opportunity to witness them in person. This past Tuesday, I’ve finally been given a chance to do so. After many 15 long years of fighting with the State ofColoradoand other jurisdictions, Christo has finally been given the green light to move forward on his “Over the River” project, the draping of semi-sheer fabrics over the Arkansas River, down near Salida, Colorado.

This is a victory for the State ofColorado. Christo has aged significantly since the start of this process and he does not have many years left. His wife and partner Jean Claude has already passed away. This may be his last project, makingColoradothe only state inAmericato have had TWO Christo art projects, the first one being the Rifle Gap project. This will give the state ofColoradoa prominent place in art history.

Scores of letters have been written in opposition to this project, many filled with half truths and misunderstandings. So, let’s start with the facts. It’s a temporary exhibit. Some letter writers cried about how horrible it would be to block the sun over theArkansas. Two weeks, folks. That’s it. And in my opinion, not enough time. Also, Christo will be using sheer fabrics, creating a luminous quality. More sunshine will flow through this fabric than on a cloudy day!

Some of the letters I have read ignorantly stated that it is a burden that tax payers should not have to face in this economy. Those people need to read Christo’s proposal, for not a dime of tax payer money will be spent on the project. He funds every single project himself, pays for every worker (upwards to 200, and in an economy desperate for jobs, this is a good thing) himself, recycles all material used, and leaves the area a better place. For a financial standpoint, there are simply no grounds on which to oppose it.

Other letter writers have complained that it would stop the rafting industry. Who would want to raft through a covered river? they ask. I would, and I know many, many fans from around the world who would line up in droves to run the rapids under this historic and temporary monument. It would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would not be surprised to see rafting companies selling Christo packages at ridiculous prices.

Overall, if you appreciate his work, you’ll probably be joining me and thousands of others from around the world down in Salida in order to behold this once in a lifetime event. Otherwise, in 2014, it’ll all be over and we can get back to our lives.

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