Orlando, FL (PressExposure) January 13, 2009 -- It took two years of campaigning and nearly $750 million dollars for Barack Obama to win the presidency.
On Monday, January 19, it will take one hour and nearly 13,000 gumballs to create a one-of-a-kind portrait of the 44th president.
But this portrait wonât hang in the White House â it will be on display at one of the 32 Ripleyâs Believe It or Not! Odditoriums worldwide.
Ripleyâs Believe It or Not! is sponsoring the creation of Obama in gumballs as part of the MLK day events at the King Kennedy Center in Ravenna, Ohio. Kids will assemble the 6â x 6â portrait that will contain 12,784 gumballs.
Renowned artist Franz Spohn designed the project so the community could create it together. Volunteers, from preschoolers to college students, will start work at noon and should be finished in about one hour.
âThe mural process is a great metaphor for the community working together to realize a goal,â Spohn said. âThe individual gumballs don't look like much by themselves, but they are transformed through community effort from being more or less items of little value or consequence to a beautiful and awe-inspiring image.â
Using computer technology, Spohn views the gumballs as pixels, or points of color. He creates the design for the image on a computer and then makes a map showing which color of gumballs are needed in specific places. Volunteers follow the color-coding map and place the appropriate gumballs in order into a clear plastic tube. The 90 tubes will then be mounted next to each other to form the unique portrait.
Because he canât special-order gumballs by color, the artist had to purchase more than 70,000 gumballs to get the quantity and variety of colors needed. After that came the tedious task of sorting through thousands of gumballs to separate them into eight different colors. The most common color in the portrait? Dark purple â more than 7,000 of them will be used in the project.
The artist has worked with the King Kennedy Center before, donating his efforts to help them create earlier murals of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Corretta Scott King and Rosa Parks. Spohnâs gumball murals of Robert Ripley, Dean Cain, and Michael Jackson currently hang in Ripleyâs Believe It or Not! museums worldwide.
Why gumballs? Spohn thinks they naturally pull people together.
âAnd it's quite convenient,â he adds, âespecially in today's energy sensitive times, to buy my art supplies at the same time I buy groceries!â
The King Kennedy Center is located at 6660 Garfield Road in Ravenna, Ohio.
To set up an interview with artist Franz Spohn, contact Tim OâBrien at Obrien@ripleys.com.
For more information on Ripleyâs, please visit http://www.ripleys.com
Tim OâBrien VP Communications Ripley Entertainment Inc. Office â 615-646-7465 Cell â 615-496-5949 firstname.lastname@example.org