Art style

The couple’s love of art and music reverberates through Florida.

A house in Safety Harbor has become more than a building; it is a work of art that has been growing for more than 35 years. The masterminds behind the operation are Todd and Kiaralinda Ramquist, and they call it, Whimzey-Land.

“It’s like entering the mind of an artist.”

It’s not a movie line, but it comes from the mouth of a well-known actor who plays a musician alongside.

Jeff Daniels used these words to describe Whimzeyland at Safety Harbor, which is owned, operated and also inhabited by Todd and Kiaralinda Ramquist.

Nestled in the quiet neighborhoods that surround the downtown area of ​​small town Florida, Whimzeyland is literally the name of this home, although you may not know what it means.

“When we started, ‘whimsical’ was a word people used to describe this style of art. Fun, playful, colorful. So we started making our house look like that,” Kiaralinda laughed.

For over 35 years, Todd and Kiaralinda have traveled the world, collecting art, seeing live music and getting involved in humanitarian relief.

“We’ve been together since 7th grade,” Todd said.

Todd and Kiaralinda Ramquist, the owners and brains behind Whimzey-Land

The house is the first house they bought in 1987. Back then it was just beige or brown, which I quickly realized was not a color on their rainbow. As they went to different art exhibitions, they started to trade with other artists and bring these materials home. The first time they dressed up the house was for Christmas. Then as they traveled more and more, Kiaralinda started bringing back ideas to dress up the house even more.

Now, three different color palettes later, the house has become a staple.

“The third incarnation was peach, teal, and azalea. And then I painted every surface a different color. I mean every surface is a different color,” Kiaralinda said with a big smile.

As I turned into the street, the first thing I saw was the big smiling face. How can you not smile when you see something like this coming your way?

You walk through a jester entrance that looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland as you walk through. It’s filled with their art, other people’s art, a geocache, a SpongeBob SquarePants from an event they held years ago, painted bowling balls and, in between others, of magic.

It’s free to anyone who passes by, and you don’t have to worry about disturbing the Ramquists. They might be on their way out, maybe on their way back, but having a place where thousands of visitors stop on any given day is sometimes something you can tell they appreciate.

“We built it for ourselves, but the rest of the world comes to it, which is kind of weird, but we love it,” Kiaralinda said.

The fantasy doesn’t stop at their house though. Their love for art and music reverberates through the community.

Todd and Kiaralinda created the Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center just five blocks away or SHAMC for short. It is a venue for community art exhibitions. Live music and, most importantly, fun.

“People still think we’re working. But we don’t really work. We do stuff here, we do stuff at the art center. We just like to have fun,” Todd said.

Around Safety Harbor you can see their signature everywhere. Glass panels line the community center. They painted the skatepark. Even the side of one of the convenience stores has a mural with the name of the city.

Back in Whimzeyland, there’s a guest house you can stay at if you’re looking to get those ‘creative juices’ flowing. The couple had singers and songwriters stay just to write songs. They have connections in the music business that have helped them get “mystery music guests” to their shows. I can’t say who because that would ruin the mystery.

As Todd showed us how he made their “whimzeywire” which is something they sell at art shows and on the website, he bends that wire into one word which I think sums up this whole story . At least for me.

Love.

Their love for art, music and community is as vivid as the colors that paint Whimzeyland, and it’s something the whole world could use.

“We know we have an impact on what happens in this city. Maybe nobody cares, but we care about having an impact there. We just want people to have a good day when they come to Safety Harbor,” Kiaralinda said with a smile.

For more information, visit kiaralinda.com.