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Saturday’s ArtHop: Balloon Chandeliers at Graphic Emporium

Anyone who has ever seen a display by Dale Chihuly can attest to the fact that the sheer magnitude of one his exhibitions is awe-inspiring. Most notably, the ceiling of the lobby of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Enterprise High School art teacher Tami Watson was inspired by Chihuly’s glass chandeliers to re-create the idea using helium balloons.

“The way I introduce color and color theory in class is to have them put together a chandelier using balloons,” said Watson. “And people familiar with Chiluly absolutely love it.”

The EHS students of Watson and the other art teacher, Sandy Ross, spend a good chunk of time working to create these air masterpieces. They have created a whole curriculum to fit these needs after being inspired by a similar class while at a seminar in Chicago. This project has become more and more competitive over the last five years, especially now that the students know only the top projects will be displayed for the public.

The balloon art is displayed at the high school, which is how Graphic Emporium owner Irene Kelley fortuitously came upon the idea for Art Hop.

“I’m a big fan of Chihuly,” Kelley said. “And I was inspired by the students’ motivation and creativity with the balloons.”

Graphic Emporium will host this elaborate display at the 2nd Saturday ArtHop March 14.

“I’m not sure how many pieces we can accommodate without setting off the motion detectors,” Kelley joked. “But as long as they’ll stay inflated, we’ll keep them up.”

Kelley also mentioned that during ArtHop, Graphic Emporium will have balloons for the public to interact with, so people can see just how difficult it is to manipulate and work with balloons.

“We’re really excited about having the balloons displayed to the public, and especially at ArtHop,” said Watson. “The kids just light up at the prospect of showing their art in public.”

To check out these creations yourself, stop by Graphic Emporium,

1525 Pine Street, during ArtHop Saturday, March 14, 6-9 p.m.
For more information, call (530) 241-4278.

Melissa earned her B.A. in journalism and her M.A. in English from CSU, Chico. She spent time in Las Vegas working as a college English instructor and a magazine writer and editor. Melissa currently teaches at University Preparatory School in Redding, performs in local theatre and writes for Enjoy Magazine.