N.Y. artist claims he erected cross on Light Hill | AspenTimes.com

N.Y. artist claims he erected cross on Light Hill

The 12-by-6-foot cross planted atop Light Hill in Old Snowmass was apparently put there by a New York artist.

A Westchester County man has claimed responsibility for the cross, placed on Bureau of Land Management property above the Gateway neighborhood. The man, who declined to give his name, said he felt compelled to call the Times after reading a story Friday about the neighborhood’s reaction.

“I sincerely want to apologize to the 13-year-old girl who was frightened by the cross. I never meant for that to happen,” he said.

He said he put the cross up for a photography project and had planned to take it down soon, but BLM rangers did the job before he had a chance, removing the cross Thursday after receiving complaints from a few Gateway residents.

“There’s no cult or anything behind the cross, which is probably too bad for you – the newspaper,” said the man in response to speculation that the cross belonged to the Penitentes, a Catholic splinter group known for demonstrating faith by emulating Christ’s suffering on and off the cross.

The cross on Light Hill was made of six-by-six timbers, sturdy enough to hold a man. It had ropes at each end of the cross beam, one for each arm, and another rope running through holes in the upright about four feet off the ground, to secure the legs.

The cross was discovered by a Gateway woman when she hiked up the hill last Monday. Once she realized what she had found, the woman called BLM and asked them to take it down. Her daughter was reportedly “freaked out” over the cross, prompting several neighbors to pressure the federal agency to take it down before Halloween.

“I called the BLM and thanked the ranger for acting so quickly,” said the woman. “They responded right away and I appreciate that.”

The man who claims to have erected the cross said it was never used for crucifixion. No one had even posed on the cross for him.

Given the reaction by the neighborhood, the man said he plans to discard the photos. “It disappoints me that people are upset about it, so I’ll probably drop the piece,” he said.

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