Artists Cristo and Jeanne-Claude plan to install nearly six miles of silvery fabric panels above and along 42 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado. Funded entirely by the artists, the two-week exhibition is projected to attract up to 400,000 visitors and generate $57.2 million in tourism dollars. With more paperwork and permits to complete, the “Over the River” project has been pushed back (three years!) to August 2015.
Local residents under the name Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR) have filed a lawsuit, arguing that such a crowd will ruin their world. Cristo is no stranger to controversy, but neither is the river. Since 1902, Kansas claims that Colorado takes too much of the river’s water, resulting in a number of lawsuits before the U.S Supreme Court that continue to this day (Kansas v. Colorado). Just a year ago, 100,000 freshwater fish were found dead in the river’s bank. The cause of death has yet to be determined. Cristo was not in the area.