When Suffern resident Josie DaCosta was a college student, she found herself at a crossroads: Would she go into a career of art design or teaching? Though DaCosta decided on art design then, the now 53-year-old balloon artist and owner of one-stop party shop Beyond Twisting is happy to report that decades later, she gets to do both.
“I’m an artist at heart,” said DaCosta. “Since I was a teen I’ve always done something creative. My primary career was working at a children’s museum. I was an educator and designed programs and workshops for kids. So I’ve always been involved with young children (throughout) my career…I love creating.”
During her combined 25 years at the New Jersey and Mid-Hudson Discovery Museums, DaCosta brought a creative flair to events the facility hosted, her face painting station in particular became a big hit with the younger guests.
While she would agree to the occasional parent request to bring her services to children’s parties and volunteer for the Make a Wish Foundation in Hudson Valley, the work was on a part-time basis. But when COVID-19 temporarily closed the Mid-Hudson Discovery museum, DaCosta was forced to consider her next steps. It was then that she decided to look into a new venture—balloon art.
“I noticed a lot of my friends who were also face-painters were turning to balloons,” DaCosta explained. “Events couldn’t happen and you couldn’t do (face-painting) in person, so they were delivering balloon gifts to kids. So I was like, ‘Hmm, this is kind of fun. Let me try this out.’”
After taking a few classes and workshops, DaCosta began building a portfolio of her work by making balloon art for friends and family, eventually branching out to referrals. As her client list continued to build over the next year, DaCosta was invited back to her museum job. After successfully juggling the two gigs for over a year, DaCosta made Beyond Twisting her full-time employment in October of 2022. Since then, the business (which still includes face painting) has only continued to grow.
“With my balloon twisting, it’s not just your simple dog and sword that make people hire me,” said DaCosta. “I have different balloons in different sizes, so they’re a lot more creative…As a balloon artist, I also do balloon décor. I started making more elaborate pieces and sculptures, arches and garlands. So now I can offer a complete package for parties. Like, ‘Hey, I can do the entertainment and you can have a beautiful backdrop!’”
Though Beyond Twisting keeps DaCosta busy, it’s all worth it when she sees the joy her creations give to children.
“Making kids smile and making an impact are my favorite parts of the job,” DaCosta said. “Just making a difference is a big thing. When a kid’s a little upset, I come in and say, ‘Here’s a little balloon for you!’ and they smile—that’s what I love about it.”