On an August afternoon, a shiny sports-utility vehicle pulled into a parking lot of pick-up trucks outside the only school in Cotopaxi. The artist Christo Javacheff took a deep breath and walked into the school’s gymnasium. Someone had set up a microphone under the basketball hoop, and two armed sheriff’s officers stood watch nearby. All the folding chairs planted on the rubbery court were filled, some with people wearing T-shirts that read, “Say No To Christo.”

The artist had fretted about this moment for months. “It’s our lion’s den,” he told his staff.

Known professionally by his first name, Christo is famous for draping entire buildings, valleys and New York’s Central Park in colorful fabric. Now, at age 75, he’s trying to convince a swath of southern Colorado to let him temporarily suspend flat sections of silvery fabric over a 42-mile-long stretch of the area’s Arkansas River. For two weeks, people will be able to drive alongside this mirror-like ribbon or raft underneath it, he says. He has spent $7 million and 18 years working out the logistics of the project, “Over The River,” and he is campaigning hard for the permits to pull it off.


Kelly Crow
Wall Street Journal