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Christ of the Ozarks
09-02-06--ChristofOzarks.jpg
Coordinates 36°24′32″N 93°43′31″W / 36.409000°N 93.725268°W / 36.409000; -93.725268Coordinates: 36°24′32″N 93°43′31″W / 36.409000°N 93.725268°W / 36.409000; -93.725268
Location Eureka Springs, Arkansas, United States
Type statue
Height 20 metres (66 ft)
Completion date 1966
Dedicated to Jesus Christ

Christ of the Ozarks statue is a monumental sculpture of Jesus located near Eureka Springs, Arkansas, atop Magnetic Mountain. It was erected in 1966 as a "Sacred Project" by Gerald L. K. Smith, a political organizer from the 1930s, and stands 65.5 feet (20 meters) high.

Background

During the Great Depression, Smith served as an organizer for Huey P. Long's Share Our Wealth movement and led it briefly following Long's assassination in 1935. After many years of highly controversial, religiously charged activism, Gerald L. K. Smith retired to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he bought and renovated an old mansion. On other parts of the estate property, he planned a religious theme park, which he called "Sacred Projects". He commissioned the centerpiece, a gigantic statue of Jesus, completed in 1966. It is called Christ of the Ozarks.

He also completed a 4,100-seat amphitheater. This is the site of seasonal annual outdoor performances of The Great Passion Play, styled after the show performed in Oberammergau, Germany. It is performed four or five nights a week from the first week of May through the end of October.

Design

The statue was primarily the work of Emmet Sullivan, who also worked on nearby Dinosaur World. He had assisted in the work at Mount Rushmore. The statue is modernistic and minimalistic; there is little facial detail or expression, and the lines and forms are generally simplified. The arms are outstretched straight, suggesting the Crucifixion; however the cross is not depicted.

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