Over the River would enhance the Arkansas

Letter from Eldon L. Rush

Art – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine


Pueblo can certainly be proud of its magnificent Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center and its staff who so professionally exhibited Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Twenty-five Golden Years, the Tom Golden Collection, and who were such gracious hosts for the walk-through with the artists and the hundreds of interested visitors.

I many times strolled Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s shimmering, saffron-colored Wrapped Walk Ways in Kansas City, Missouri’s Loose Park, and it was one of the most beautiful and ethereal experiences of my life.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s art is fascinating, not only for its uniqueness and scale, but also because it is a celebration of the democratic process in that it can be realized only with the approval of the citizens through their institutions and agencies.

Their proposed Over the River Project would, for two weeks, drape forty miles of our wild, magnificent Arkansas River with five miles of blue, perforated, translucent fabric from Parkdale to Salida, with interruptions for bridges, trees, light, and other esthetic reasons. Set back from the banks to allow sunlight to illuminate the river, the fabric will appear solid when viewed from above on the banks and roadway, but will be translucent to the rafters and canoeists below.

Over the River will not upstage the river; rather, it will complement it, commune with it, dance in the wind with it, and be a love fest between Nature and its human offspring.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude selected the Arkansas River as their first choice for Over the River from 89 rivers they surveyed in five states. But to make this important work of art with such international interest a reality, the approval of some 28 agencies is necessary.

I urge the people of Colorado to vote FOR Over the River by contacting the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Headquarters at P.O. Box 126, Salida CO 81201.

Eldon L. Rush


(Note: I am not associated in any way with Christo and Jeanne-Claude, nor with the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center.)