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Forget Shane: Come back, Christo! Christo, come back!

Categories: Art, News, Politics

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for river.jpg
Wolfgang Volz, copyright Christo 2007

As noted in a previous blog, "Doing the Math on Christo's Arkansas River Wrap," Colorado art mavens and opinion leaders are just crrraaaazy about Over the River, the proposal by husband-and-wife artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to suspend six miles of silvery fabric over the river between Canon City and Salida. They can't wait to get the permits cleared for the fabulous, massive installation, even if the thing's only going to be gawkable for a couple of weeks in, maybe, 2012.

Now the project has received yet another boost from both of the state's U.S. senators and six of its seven congressional representatives. Here's their letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, urging a speedy and high-priority environmental review of the project by the Bureau of Land Management.

Is it nostalgia for Christo's 1972 Valley Curtain, his last foray into Colorado, that prompts all this attention? Is it the fact that we're suckers for blue demon steeds, piles of red boobies, neutered aliens and other imposing bits of public humiliation? Or could it be the heady projections of added tourist dollars from art pilgrims -- close to $200 million, according to the project's backers -- flowing into the state?

Environmental-impact studies still need to be done on the project, and at least some folks in Fremont County are raising sticky questions about traffic along US 50 and the impact on local wildlife -- via the ROAR (Rags Over the Arkansas River) website. Curiously, Doug Lamborn, the congressman who happens to represent the area Christo wants to adorn, is the only representative who didn't sign the letter -- but a spokeswoman for his office says Lamborn stands by his endorsement of the project.

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