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Even if an art museum featuring portraits of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe is not your idea of fun, you may want to give Candytopia a chance. That’s because, in this museum, everything is made from candy! The best part? There is no need to find a “Golden Ticket” to gain admission to this real-life Willy Wonka world that is making its way around the US — tickets can be purchased online, or in-person at the venue.
Currently on display at New York City’s Penn Plaza, the “interactive art installation” is the brainchild of Jackie Sorkin, host of TLC’s Candy Queen. The television star, who partnered with fabricator Zac Hartog and retailer John Goodman to make her vision a reality, is also the CEO of Hollywood Candy Girls, Inc., which makes custom candy art and creations for parties and events. In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Sorkin said, "Candytopia was really created for the people's happiness. We just wanted to bring light to the world. My whole world is all sweet candy and love and joy. So, it’s a tremendous dream to be living this experience and sharing it with everyone.”
The temporary exhibit, which debuted in Santa Monica, California on December 15, 2017, comprises 12 rooms. In addition to the portrait gallery, which also features Van Gogh’s Starry Night, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and Willy Wonka portrayed by Gene Wilder, guests will get a glimpse of life under the oceans, complete with colorful fish, crustaceans, sharks, and even a diver — all crafted from delicious candy, of course! Then there are the animal sculptures, which include a fierce-looking big cat crafted using lime and purple hard candy, pigs with wings, and a colorful unicorn. For the intellectuals in the group, there is a delicious replica of Auguste Rodin’s famous bronze sculpture, “The Thinker.”
Those not content with just admiring the candy can immerse themselves in a pool of fluffy, white marshmallows. However, don’t get tempted to pop one in your mouth, for though they may look and feel like the soft, gooey candy, they are fake. The museum is also filled with unique, picture-worthy opportunities, such as a steampunk-esque clock that lowers from the ceiling to reveal a spread of Lindt chocolates and a room with the floor painted like the sky, giving an illusion that you are floating amid clouds. There's also a sprinkle gun, which an employee holds and sprays over guests, creating a fun photo opportunity.
Unlike at other museums, Candytopia fans are free to touch and feel their favorite paintings or sculptures. And, while unlikely, don’t fret if a piece or two pop out — Sorkin and her team are experts at repairing the candy art. While Sorkin will not reveal the base used for the surreal exhibits, she says many of them took over a thousand hours to create.
Realizing that the mouth-watering exhibits will have fans craving for the sweet treats, free samples of candy such as pixie sticks, cotton candy taffy, and chocolate truffles, are handed out in every room. There is also a massive room filled with bulk bins featuring all the candy used in the artwork, available, for purchase, at the end of the tour.
The New York exhibit of the interactive museum will remain open till November 15, 2018. West Coast residents can get their sweet cravings fulfilled at the San Francisco Candytopia which will be open from September 6 to November 30, 2018. Other cities are expected to be added to the schedule soon.