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The panels would be visible from above, along the highway, and from below.
Close Caption
Christo, Over the River (Project for Arkansas River, State of Colorado), Drawing 2010 in two parts. Pencil, wax crayon, charcoal, pastel, enamel paint, fabric sample, hand-drawn topographic map, technical data, tape, 96x42in. and 96x15in. Ref #70
Christo Project Makes Waves
Will this earthwork break new ground or harm the environment?

Artistic duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude were famous for their massive public art installations. They added fabric to landscapes with a technique they called “wrapping.” Their creative process was just as important as the completed sculptures. The artists sold preparatory drawings and models to pay for the projects, and they often spent years in court trying to get the permits needed to install their works. Jeanne-Claude died in 2009, but Christo is moving ahead with plans for an artwork that is causing controversy.

For the proposed work, titled Over the River, Christo would suspend 5.9 miles of fabric panels above eight sections of the Arkansas River in Colorado. Construction of the project would take two years and the display would last for just two weeks.

After an in-depth environmental-impact analysis, the federal government approved the project. But environmentalists are trying to block it in court. They say it will harm the ecosystem and affect local bighorn-sheep populations.

Supporters say the canopies will highlight the landscape’s natural beauty and increase tourism. The project could attract as many as 400,000 visitors and generate up to $121 million for the state and local community. Opponents, who call the work “rags,” say the tourists will cause lasting environmental damage and will be disruptive.

What do you think? Should officials allow Christo to build Over the River?


I think that it is obstructing the natural beauty of the river and its surroundings. It makes no sense to call something art just for the sake of its shear size and a little creative thought. The earth is art and this particular 2 week display is senseless. If it can't be there forever, then covering a river for 5.9 miles just doesn't seem right. Sometimes artists just try to wow for money or notoriety!!! That is normal human behavior, but it doesn't mean that it is always ok.
Posted by: stef j. | March 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM
Our priority should be the enviornment, no matter what. I love the idea of wrapping things, and us it often, as an art teacher. I think Christo has a brilliant, out of the box theme to his art, but there must be other thing to "wrap" with out endangering any part of our already threatened, precious enviornment.
Posted by: Jan N. | March 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM
I think that he should be allowed to do it but not as long of a time frame. Give Him maybe 6 moth or a year to construct and a week or less to display. This way they are still making money for the state but also not hurting the environment in such a harsh way.
Posted by: Katy K. | March 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM
I think the idea of the artwork is very creative and unique. However I do understand the environmentalist point of view. I think the artist should not have the display be as long and not cover as much of the river. For example, only having the display be one week long and only covering 3 miles of river. That would likely bring less damage to the environment and still allowing the artist to express his vision.
Posted by: amye . | March 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM
I don't think that Christo should build over the river for different reasons. One reason is that the projects would only be displayed for two weeks which is not a lot of time for something that is gonna take two years to build. It does not make sense. If he owned the land it would be a whole different scenario. Another reason why I don't think that Christo should build over the river is for the safety of the animals and land nearby. From the money he generates, is he gonna keep it? Or is he gonna donate the money to whoever owns the land to repair any damage that may be caused due to this?
Posted by: Danielle . | March 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM
The idea is really interesting, but I don't think that it would work well in real life. If it takes two years to set up, that's two years of construction and possible confusion/harm to the local animal populations. After that, the canopies would only be displayed for two weeks, which isn't enough time as a full showing that would increase tourism like some argue. I like the idea, but I think the idea could be presented better through miniatures or from being constructed in an area that won't have an environmental impact.
Posted by: Jenny F. | March 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM
I think that it might be a good idea to cover less territory with the project, but still follow through with it. The fact that there was an in-depth analysis of the environmental aspects, and yet it was approved, adds to the reasons to follow through with it. I would be interested in hearing if the environmentalists have solid evidence behind their reasoning in saying that it would cause lasting damage. The project would not last for very long. It isn't like adding a city or buildings that are meant to be there for a long time, but it is art, and would bring in a lot of money for the community.
Posted by: Julie R. | March 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM
i think that it will be nice display sometimes things dont need to be to creative or new and i see it as art and if i could i would go and see it when it goes up and i think it will be very nice for the artist
Posted by: David I. | March 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM
i am against with this project because its going to affect the ecosystem and i think its a waste of money.
Posted by: kara y. | March 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM
I think it ruins the natural beauty of the earth
Posted by: Mike a. | March 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM
we think it does hightlight the reviews and his idea is unique and creative. But it should be dispalyed for a long time if it can cause any problem to environment or serious damage. Perhaps the artist can find other kind of material to make this object.
Posted by: Anita Z. | March 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM
I think that it takes away from the natural landscape. It obstructs the beauty of earth. It also looks like a big piece of crayon art left on the ground. Someone could walk on the fabric and fall into the river. who wants that to happen?
Posted by: Andrew H. | March 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM
First off, it was a big waste of money. It may be a nice idea, but it's not worth it. Also, if it is going to disrupt the environment in a negative way, it should not be attempted, for no amount of time. If the project was to be completed, than it should be moved to where it will not harm the environment.
Posted by: Mayra M. | March 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM
In my opinion, this project could become something great, even if it only lasts 2 weeks. Studies have been done that show that there wouldn't be any damage to the environment, not to mention the fact that it could generate so many visitors and so much money. It may only be for two weeks, but realistically that could cause more people to want to come see it, since it will only be up for a short period. The project would undoubtedly heighten the beauty of the area, bringing in ore people, helping both the state and local people and community, so I think this would be a good idea to make.
Posted by: Caitlin W. | March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM
I do not think Christo should build this canopy over the river. It seems very unreasonable to waste so many materials and money on a project that will only be on display for two weeks. Aside from being a enviromental controversy, this project is a financial controversy. The man power and time needed to make this project could be used inany other more important projects that have more productive results than just a fabric covering a beautiful natural scene.
Posted by: Devan R. | March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM
What the artist is doing is beautiful and hard work but I agree with people how it's gonna ruined the environment, and doing it for two years is a lot of time and over the river is not a good idea, sand if he continues to make it and build it, nobody will know what can happen next and how it can effect the surroundings.
Posted by: AV, Y. | March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM
I think officials should allow Christo to install "Over the River" because it will emphasize the natural beauty of the land, and it will allow other people to view the artwork from all different angles.
Posted by: Megan M. | March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM
I think that this art project should not be allowed because it is covering the beauty of nature. This will attract tourists which will effect our environment even more. It is a clever and creative idea, but there is not much point to it. Also the amount of time it will take to make this is a waste of time.
Posted by: Brianna M. | March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM
We personally think the environment is meant to be the way it is and should not be disturbed with unnatural materials. Large artworks can and will effect the ecosystem in the area in which they are built. Animals will become confused because of these unnatural changes within their environment. On another point, this project will take two years to build and will only last two weeks. This is a huge waste of time and money in our eyes.
Posted by: Paul H. | March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM
I don't think they should go through with the project. What about the wildlife that live where this will be taking place. Why waste the resources and money over two years for only two weeks of art work. I don't think it's just a good idea in general. My concern would be about the sheep if the construction company is there for 2 years that's two years the wild life will be maybe scared to go near there homes. With that they will be trying to run and potentially running into our towns back yards causing destruction danger to people and animals. I don't think it's a good idea
Posted by: Jordan A. | March 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM
I think it is unfair to disrupt nature's ecosystem and call it art. And that is what Christo's model exactly did. it disrupted the ecosystem and caused an interference in the biodiversity.
Posted by: sally m. | April 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM
I don't think that the project is a good idea. There is too much money that is involved and the project will only last two weeks. The government can use that money for more reasonable ideas and to protect the environment. The people can do a lot with over 100 million dollars that will last more than two weeks.
Posted by: Tyler F. | April 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM
We don't think the project is necessary. It would ruin the environment around it. It would also take away living space for animals. Also, a lot of money would have to go into this project. Overall, this project is not necessary.
Posted by: Amy K. | April 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM
We personally think the environment is meant to be the way it is and should not be disturbed with unnatural materials. Large artworks can and will effect the ecosystem in the area in which they are built. Animals will become confused because of these unnatural changes within their environment. On another point, this project will take two years to build and will only last two weeks. This is a huge waste of time and money in our eyes.
Posted by: Paul H. | April 1, 2014 at 3:09 PM
i am against with this project because its going to affect the ecosystem and i think its a waste of money.
Posted by: kara y. | April 1, 2014 at 3:09 PM
I think that it takes away from the natural landscape. It obstructs the beauty of earth. It also looks like a big piece of crayon art left on the ground. Someone could walk on the fabric and fall into the river. who wants that to happen?
Posted by: Andrew H. | April 1, 2014 at 3:09 PM
Alought he should have his creative freedom he has the responsiblity to take in to consideration the environmental effects his art could have on the area.For example, the birds flying around can't access the water when they are thirsty. its not nessesarily that the art would have a lomgterm effect on the environment but the construction lasting two years will.
Posted by: Lauren J. | April 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM
We think that Christo should be allowed to do his artwork because it it only temporary, and it doesn't harm our environment. The artwork will attract tourists which will increase the city's revenue. If the government approved his artwork then he should be allowed to do it.
Posted by: Dalia M. | April 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM
From what we can see in the photographs taken of this "art", it doesn't look like the tarps are harming any aspect of the environment. And since this is only temporary and is not going to have any lasting environmental impact, we think this should be allowed to be created and viewed as a work of art in a beautiful natural environment.
Posted by: Halle S. | April 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM
i do not think he should go through with the project because its a waste of money and time for a project thats only going to be on display for a short amount of time. he should spend more time and effort on a project that will not get ruined and that will stay for a long time so more people can appreciate it.
Posted by: hallie g. | April 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM
We think that the project is not a good idea. The enviornment is okay as it is and should not be tampered with. God made the earth how beautiful it is and we do not need this to make it look any better. Nature in itself is already a beautiful work of art that does not need to be changed. This could affect wildlife and the natural habitats of animals. It is also a big waste of money. This project would cover the natural beauty of nature and make it more cluttered. I think it is pointless to waste all this money on a project that will only last for two weeks.-JESSIE AND BELLA
Posted by: Bella J. | April 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM
Well, it said the government approved it because of a in - depth analysis of environmental impact or something. I think they should allow it because it will show the impacts on the environment and other scientific theories or possibilities of the environment. In a way, it's actually helpful to the environment in a long term observation. And if it does severely harm the environment, they can always stop it, or move it and yet still get valuable information out of the results. Hey, it's only temporary right?
Posted by: Darren L. | April 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM
I believe that at times we put too much effort into adding more beauty to the world. We need to step back and observe what we already have. I have admired Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work for years; from my mother showing me pictures of the Running Fence and the Pont Neuf, to researching pictures of the Surrounded Islands. To prevent their next project on the Arkansas River would be to prevent art and the viewing of natural beauty. Humans truly appreciate things when they are gone, and their work is what will give that appreciation. Their art is not about the rapping but about the unwrapping. Their work is truly beautiful.
Posted by: Sam H. | April 10, 2014 at 2:25 PM
I think it is unfair to disrupt nature's ecosystem and call it art. And that is what Christo's model exactly did. it disrupted the ecosystem and caused an interference in the biodiversity.
Posted by: sally m. | April 10, 2014 at 2:26 PM
From what we can see in the photographs taken of this "art", it doesn't look like the tarps are harming any aspect of the environment. And since this is only temporary and is not going to have any lasting environmental impact, we think this should be allowed to be created and viewed as a work of art in a beautiful natural environment.
Posted by: Halle S. | April 10, 2014 at 2:26 PM

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