Many of you have already heard the sad news. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pull together the funds needed to bring the 2009 Balloon Manor to fruition. It was a valiant effort on the part of many of you out there that called me with suggestions, leads, and financial contributions. (As promised, all money sent in to save the 2009 Manor will go to the American Cancer Society.) Thank you so much for all the support. Knowing that there are so many people that want to keep the Manor alive is enough to keep me working on it for the future. I don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing, when, or what form Balloon Manor will take now, but I assure you, this is only a minor setback for Airigami. The artist crew has already been working on plans, and none of us intend to let the work get wasted.
A few other things are happening in the next few months. While none of them are on the scale of Balloon Manor, I thought that fans of the Manor might be interested in them.
- I will be taking part in the second Las Vegas Balloon Couture Fashion Show, coming up on August 16. Some of the photos from last years fashion show are on airigami.com. Like last year, I’ll be working with Kelly Cheatle to wow everyone at the show.
- September 23-Oct 10, I’ll be participating in ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI. This is an international art competition open to artists that work in any medium. Winners will be determined by public vote. This isn’t Balloon Manor, but I’m hoping that fans of the Manor will support my entry there. I will be showing some of my interpretations of great masterpieces, including a life size, 3D version of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Kelly is also major part of constructing this work.
- My new book, Balloon Engineer, will hit the shelves in Barnes & Noble in late August or early September. This book has instructions to make ten “Wonders of the World” with balloons.
I haven’t had a free Halloween season in a while, so I’m open to suggestions for a smaller projects that I and a few of the Airigami team members can be part of this year. Please let me know if you have ideas for something small, manageable, and fun that we can take part in.
Everyone has been hit hard by the current state of the economy. Unfortunately, Balloon Manor is also being affected. Even as I received the great news that I’ll be installing a sculpture on the White House lawn for a July 4 celebration, I’ve been reminded that not everything is going as well as it could be. The current funding situation may mean pulling the plug on the the 2009 Balloon Manor.
Balloon Manor is not a low-overhead event. Although it depends upon about 300 community volunteers and 40 or so balloon artists from all over the world who pay their own way each year, we still have to cover travel and lodging expenses for the 20 top artists whose creativity is key to making this the world-famous project that it is. In the last few days, as people have told me how much they’re looking forward to the Manor, I’ve had to tell them the bad news. Everyone has asked what they could do to help. Since it seems that many people out there are interested in saving this community event that was intended to be part of Rochester’s 175th anniversary, I thought I’d turn to all of you that have been supporting the Manor and following all of the developments over the last few years.
In order to make this happen this year, and to ensure that all ticket money can go to the American Cancer Society as planned, we need to raise $75,000 in sponsorships (including in-kind donations). Please contact me if you can help and please help us spread the word to any businesses or individuals that may be in a position to help this year.
We aren’t necessarily looking for cash contributions. Things that would be of great assistance are:
- Housing for out of town artists.
- Flights for out of town artists.
- Meals for approximately 60 crew members.
- Healthy snacks for 300 volunteers.
- Printing of brochures and signs for the event.
- T-shirts for crew members and volunteers.
- Hardware (aluminum pipe, fencing materials, assorted other non-balloon materials).
Thanks everyone for doing what you can to help us out. If you are inclined to contribute cash to help the cause, be assured that in the event of cancellation, all donations will be passed directly to the American Cancer Society.