Sounds of balloons being blown up, as well as some popping, came from the reception hall at the Lincoln Cultural Center on Wednesday. Almost 30 people from all over the southeast met to attend a balloon art class taught by Connie Iden-Mondes from Nashville, Tennessee. Different types of balloon forms littered the tables in the hall as the attendees chatted and shared techniques.

The multi-colored balloons were supplied by the Pioneer Balloon company based out of Witchita, Kansas and distributed locally by LaRocks in Lincolnton. 

I wanted to send myself through college so I picked up a library book and a basketball pump and started twisting balloons,” Iden-Mondes said. Now I do corporate events and celebrity client parties. Theres a huge market for this because everybody can use balloons, from corporate events to birthday parties.

Iden-Mondes does both entertainment and decorating with balloons. The skill covered in the class on Wednesday was creating balloon picture frames.

Balloons are fine art, which is about bringing emotional value to somebody,” she said. There is no medium that does that better than balloons. The minute you see balloons, you think happy, party and celebration. That makes it one of the best fine arts in the world as far as Im concerned.

Dylan Rowe, from Morganton, the magician and balloon twister for the Carolina Panthers, helped Iden-Mondes teach the class but said that he takes classes throughout the year to keep on top of his game.

I make a wonderful living doing this,” he said. I work for the Panthers as well as other sports teams and colleges and travel all over the country.

Rowe joined the circus when he was eight years old and learned to be a magician and juggler. Hes 44 now and said that the magic of balloons is his entire life.

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