Christo gets a green light: Telluride Gallery of Fine Art cheers with supporters

Christo gets a green light: Telluride Gallery of Fine Art cheers with supporters

[click “Play” to hear Will Thompson’s thoughts on the Christo project]



Christo_over_the_river4 The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art is the local representative of the world’s most famous wrapper: Christo.

Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude (now deceased) became world famous for hiding familiar objects, buildings and views in plain sight by wrapping whatever struck their fantasies in what amounts to a second skin. The big idea: transform the quotidian into something transcendent, stimulate our imaginations and the joy of discovery, causing us to take a second look at that which we tend to take for granted.

Christo signing t-shirts Last year, the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art mounted a show of Christo’s work in support of his latest project, Over The River.  Last June, at the invitation of Gallery owner Will Thompson, Telluride Inside… and Out went up to Salida to hear Christo speak at a town hall meeting on behalf of Over the River. At the time, the consensus appeared to tilt overwhelmingly in his favor, although there was the equivalent of a Tea Party opposition, fingers stuck in their ears, generally opposed no matter what.

Well, the jury is finally in and the verdict was in Christo’s favor.

Below is the contents of a press release issued by his team of supporters:


BLM Releases Final EIS for Over The River

Agency Selects Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 5.9-Mile Proposal

We are thrilled to announce that after two and a half years of analysis, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s proposed Christo's hands temporary work of art, Over The River. In the Final EIS, the BLM selected the artists’ original vision to suspend 5.9 miles of fabric panels in eight separate areas along a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River. This exciting news is the most significant milestone to date in the Over The River permitting process.

The BLM will issue a Record of Decision containing the agency’s final decision, conditions and mitigation measures in fall of 2011. The Final EIS will be available for public review through August 29, 2011 (click here to view the document on the BLM’s website). Although this is not considered to be a formal comment period, the BLM is still accepting public comments related to their Final EIS analysis. Comments can be submitted to

There have been a number of positive developments since the release of the Draft EIS last summer, and analysis in the Final EIS shows improvements in impacts to traffic flow, bighorn sheep and other issues.

“I am very pleased that the BLM selected our proposal as the preferred option for this temporary work of art,” said Christo in a statement released to the media. “This is the first time in history that a work of art has undergone an Environmental Impact Statement, so this is a significant milestone for us and for artists everywhere who want to create art on public lands. Although our team is still reviewing the 1,686-page Final EIS in detail, I am confident that the impacts and concerns have been adequately addressed. I am eager to move forward with Over The River as Jeanne-Claude and I envisioned it.”

We thank all of you for your support and encouragement throughout this lengthy permitting process. Today, we have taken a major step forward in making Over The River a reality.

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

How does Gallery owner Will Thompson, a friend and supporter of the artist, feel about the decision? Click the “play” button to find out.

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