05/19/2012 11:22 EDT | Updated 07/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Calgary mayor celebrated with gum-ball portrait

Calgary’s often bubbly mayor has been featured in an unconventional portrait.

Naheed Nenshi's face has been immortalized as a mosaic of colourful gum-balls — more than 12,000 of them.

On display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary, the creation was built Saturday by American artist Franz Spohn with the help of some local youngsters.

It measures almost two metres tall by two metres wide.

The gum-balls were carefully placed in tubes by volunteers, then allowed to fall into place side-by-side, eventually forming Nenshi’s likeness.

The mayor even made a surprise visit just as the final gum-balls were being placed.

“It's still a little weird," Nenshi said, gazing upon the work. "It's still a little awkward, but it is very neat to see all these people of every age come together and make this art together."

“It's better than the prime minister's controversial painting this week," he added, referring to a picture of Stephen Harper that has been the subject of online forums.

The portrait will be on display all week as part of the Calgary International Children's Festival.