Blumenthal Performing Arts has partnered with Lighthouse Immersive for the presentation of a 91-foot tall head of Vincent van Gogh hot air balloon, which launched Tuesday, December 7 in Charlotte to celebrate the success of the Immersive Vincent van Gogh Exhibit.

The balloon crew arrived on scene at Ballantyne’s Backyard Park, located at 11611 North Community House Road, around 4 p.m. Inflation followed, with a tethered flight shortly before 5 p.m. 

The arrival of the van Gogh balloon marks the significant impact the interactive exhibit has had on the city. After three extensions and selling more than 280,000 tickets, the presentation has created an estimated economic windfall of more than $38 million so far and is expected to attract even more visitors while it continues through January 2.

The balloon has travelled far and wide in conjunction with the exhibit in multiple locations and floated over the skylines of such cities as Toronto, Chicago and Minneapolis.

At 91-feet high and 60-feet wide, the balloon is said to hold 110,000 cubic feet of air when fully inflated – reportedly the equivalent of 110,000 basketballs. Owner Bennett Schwontkowski, director at Corporate Balloons & Promotions in Nashville, has confirmed the giant likeness of the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter does have two ears, instead of one.

According to historical reports, van Gogh’s friendship with fellow artist Paul Gauguin was on the rocks after a confrontation with a razor, which resulted in van Gogh severing part of his own left ear and the legendary tales that have come to surround the artist. 

Unsuccessful during his lifetime, van Gogh posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in western art history. In a decade, he created over 2,000 works of art, including more than 850 oil paintings, most created during the two years prior to his death at 37 in 1890. 

For more information on the exhibit and to purchase tickets, go here.