Celebrate National Jelly Bean Day with Jelly Belly

[caption id="attachment_1010" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Jelly Belly Art 1 Jelly Belly artist Kristen Cumings will create a portrait of a Giant Panda made entirely from Jelly Belly® jelly beans in honor of National Jelly Bean Day and Earth Day at the Jelly Belly Visitor Center in Fairfield on Tuesday.[/caption]


Break out the jelly beans!

Jelly Belly artist-in-residence, Kristen Cumings, will create a portrait of a Giant Panda in honor of National Jelly Bean Day and Earth Day at the Jelly Belly Visitor Center in Fairfield on Tuesday, April 22. Cumings will work on the portrait and sign autographs with visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fans who can’t make it to the visitor center can join the celebration via Livestream. Watch the Giant Panda Portrait be made live by clicking the Livestream event through a “Panda Art Cam” link on www.jellybelly.com and on Facebook.

Other National Jelly Bean Day festivities include the “Jelly Bean Challenge,” where visitors to the factory will get the chance to challenge the Guinness World Record for sorting a mix of 30 jelly beans into five cups using a straw or chopsticks. The current world record for sorting jelly beans with chopsticks is 21.53 seconds.

The Giant Panda joins the Endangered Species Series, a new Jelly Belly Art series dedicated to immortalizing the colorful and rare animals of the earth in vibrant Jelly Belly jelly beans. Jelly Belly plans to tour the collection across North America for display at museums, zoos and animal conservation programs.


[caption id="attachment_1011" align="alignright" width="200"]Jelly Belly Art 2 Grizzly bear made by Kristen Cumings[/caption]

Current Jelly Belly Art in the series are the Great Green Macaws, a Hawksbill Sea Turtle, a Rockhopper Penguin, the Swift Foxes, and a Grizzly Bear.

Large scale portraits of famous personalities and classic Americana subjects all made in mosaics of thousands of Jelly Belly jelly beans are in the private collection of the Jelly Belly Candy Company. The permanent artistic creations were commissioned by the manufacturer of Jelly Belly beans, and selections may be seen in traveling exhibits, around the world, and on free public tours of the company’s Visitor Centers in California and Wisconsin. The Jelly Belly Collection includes portraits of Elvis Presley, Abraham Lincoln, Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”, Ronald Reagan, Amelia Earhart, Laurel & Hardy, James Dean, a Native American chief, Pope John Paul II, Martin Luther King Jr., the Statue of Liberty, the Marilyn Monroe, Asian “good luck” Dragon and others.

Jelly Belly Art was the brainchild of San Francisco artist Peter Rocha, the self-proclaimed king of Jelly Belly art in 1982.  After President Reagan publicly expressed his fondness for Jelly Belly beans, artist Peter Rocha tried some himself. He was immediately impressed with the range and brilliance of the colors of the beans. He began with rough pencil drawings using photographs of the subjects. He then painted a tight color composition and finished his unusual work by applying a mosaic of Jelly Belly beans. The first portrait, appropriately of President Reagan, took Rocha over six months to complete as he painstakingly dipped each bean in the glue and placed it in a mosaic pattern. He ultimately refined his process, developing a faster method and more polished look by preparing the beans in the trays, applying them in groups of colors and correctly placing the final beans with chopsticks or by hand. Rocha retired in 2000 and his nephew Roger Rocha, took up the calling.

[caption id="attachment_1012" align="alignright" width="200"]Jelly Belly Art 3 Mona Lisa created by Kristen Cumings[/caption]

Other artists followed in their footsteps and in 2009, Kristen Cumings from Martinez, California was commissioned to make a tribute to the California grizzly bear. This 6-foot tall portrait, made of 14,000 Jelly Belly beans, is the first Jelly Belly Art piece to be made in public, when the artist created it over several weeks at the “It’s a Candy Nation” exhibit at the California State Fair. She has continued to create the Masterpieces Collection, larger-than-life reproductions of famous pieces such as Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” all in Jelly Belly jelly beans. The eight-piece collection has exhibited in museums across the country since 2011.

The Jelly Belly Candy Co. introduced the Jelly Belly bean in 1976. The company currently makes over 100 year-round and seasonal gourmet candies at its company headquarters in Fairfield, Calif., and two additional manufacturing facilities. The company is a family-owned business now in its fifth and sixth generation of candy making. Additional information is available from the Jelly Belly Hotline (800) 522-3267 or at JellyBelly.com.