Jules Perkovic is doing the largest balloon art installation in his roughly 15-year career this week.
Perkovic, owner of Party Perks in St. Louis, was chosen as one of 75 balloon artists from St. Louis and around the world to lend their talents to a one-of-a-kind event:building the big globe. Artists are creating a larger-than-life world with biodegradable balloons to raise awareness for a local charity’s cause.
“Not only is it really fun to be a part of the installation, because neither of us is going to sell a build that big on our own,” Perkovic said. “We make a huge difference by giving it to a local charity who uses it to raise awareness and funds for their cause.”
Big Balloon Build started in the UK and then expanded its reach to the US in 2022. There have been builds in Kansas City, Indiana and Wisconsin. The latest construction is in Greeley, Colorado. Perkovic said she was eager to volunteer her time.
“I was in love with all the construction done in Wales and England,” she said.
Balloon artists will transform a 50,000-square-foot ballroom at a local community college into an immersive space-themed exhibit in less than 4 days. This world will have fire and ice dragons, giants, cowboy dinosaurs, and countless alien life forms, all made of balloons.
The artists will use more than 125,000 biodegradable balloons and approximately 20 different techniques to complete the work.
“We’re done with the idea of stranger worlds,” said Stuart Davies, CEO of Big Balloon Build. “[It’s] about a group of scouts seeking to support these lost children. And they meet different kinds of people and aliens on each world, who are there helping them find the stars in the lost children’s area.”
A GOOD CAUSE
The nonprofit organization is working with Life Stories Child and Family Advocacy in Greeley to bring attention to child abuse.
“It’s a really dark subject, but if we can’t shine a light on that with the power and positivity of the balloons, then I don’t think anyone can,” Davies said.
Just Balloons owner Ebony Chambers agrees. The Bridgeton business owner will join Perkovic on construction this week.
“I see it, especially this issue, as the possibility of creating a world for these children who are being abused,” Chambers said. “And then by being able to tell their story from the fire side and then the ice side, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.”
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 4 million children were tested for child abuse nationwide in 2021. Gwen Schooley, executive director of Life Stories Child and Family Advocacy in Greeley, said the data they are not surprising. However, she is hopeful that the construction sheds light on a growing problem in her community.
“It’s more than just the balloons, the fun and the fantastic characters,” Schooley said. “It also helps us and our community members to make a difference. So for us, that means raising funds to help us continue to offer our services for free.”
The balloon display will incorporate 4,000 star balloons representing the 4,000 children in Weld County assessed for child abuse each year. This particular issue is personal to Perkovic. He has had people in his own life affected, and that is why he is using his art to get attention.
“They had no programs to help,” Perkovic said. “They had no way to talk about it. There was just no awareness. There was not the courage to speak that there is now. We want people to pay attention. If kids behave a little differently around someone, there’s a reason for that.”
The installation will conclude on Thursday afternoon. People in the area will be able to purchase tickets to experience the inflatable world with proceeds going to Life Stories Child and Family Advocacy. Melissa Fox participated in the Big Balloon Build this past March in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The owner of Balloon Theory St. Louis said seeing the end result of countless hours of work was overwhelming.
“It would probably take 20 minutes to walk through this maze of all these different outdoor scenes,” Fox said. “And it was overwhelming, you know, and I could have walked through it probably 20 times, because every time you walk through, the next time I say , ‘My God, I didn’t see those birds there.
At the end of the festivities, attendees can partake in the ceremonial party of popping, including the wand. The Big Balloon Build has more builds in store. As for St. Louis, the organizers hope to bring one of these massive facilities to St. Louis in the near future.