Airigami Balloon Adventure 2016 Opens

Journey on the Genesee built from 40,000 compostable balloons

Giant art installation brings awareness to conservation & STEM education

Jan 29, 2016, 11:00 ET from Airigami

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- World-renowned for incredible, full-blown installations, Rochester, NY's Airigami ("the fine art of folding air") officially opened its Airigami Balloon Adventure 2016: Journey on the Genesee this morning. The five-story, 50-foot sculpture made from more than 40,000 compostable balloons depicts the region's Genesee River, complete with a waterfall, trees, animals and plants – even three adventurous youngsters float overhead in a "hot air" balloon.

"These large installations take a lot of planning because, while they're very detailed, the actual build time is extremely short – in this case, just four days – due to the temporary nature of our medium," explains Airigami Artistic Director and Founder Larry Moss, who's set two Guinness World Records for balloon sculptures. "We obviously need a lot of help to make them happen."

More than 70 balloon artists and enthusiasts traveled from all over the U.S. and the world to work on this project.

"It is fascinating to be part of this, knowing it will be on display for free for a large audience," says Millie Boon, who traveled from the Netherlands to work with Airigami for her second time. "There is no such project in Europe. It also inspires me to develop my own balloon sculptures."

Although Airigami has created many large installations all over the world, this is its seventh in Rochester (last year's Amazing Air-filled Undersea Adventure drew more than 30,000 visitors) and is especially significant for its hometown theme. Recreating a portion of the Genesee River was inspired by presenting partner, the Seneca Park Zoo Society.

"People protect what they care about, and we feel that Airigami's amazing art will encourage tens of thousands of its visitors to care about and conserve one of our area's most important natural resources," explains Pamela Reed Sanchez, executive director of the Zoo Society.

Co-presenting partner, the YMCA of Greater Rochester, is looking to bring awareness to its role in the community beyond health and recreation programs.

"We are proud to be one of the early Y-USA adaptors of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum into our after-school programs that reach nearly 5,000 children every day, many of whom are in Rochester's underserved areas," explains the organization's President and CEO George Romell.

For Airigami, the project's added significance makes the Journey even more interesting. For example, they're tying the Zoo's spotlight on conservation to the Y's focus on STEM education by working with students to compost their 40,000 biodegradable balloons following the Adventure's Popping Party.

"We're thrilled to share these important issues – as well as a spectacular sculpture – with our local community," adds Airigami Creative Director Kelly Cheatle.  

More about Airigami: Airigami is internationally known for its unique artwork, whether it's a giant Acrocanthosaurus for the Virginia Museum of Natural History or the world's first piloted balloon sculpture (Fantastic Flying Octopus). Airigami has been the subject of national and international news coverage, and has made multiple appearances on The Martha Stewart ShowGood Morning America, the Today show, and at the White House. 

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