Acclaimed local artists Kiaralinda and Todd Ramquist want to make one thing clear: work on their Safety Harbor Art and Music Center, or SHAMc, project has not been halted.
Now that their summerlong trip to art festivals around the country is over, they are working non-stop on making sure their longtime dream becomes a reality as soon as possible.
In fact, the pair is in the process of organizing a major fundraiser in November, called the LuWOW, in order to raise awareness — and money — for the project.
“We want people to know that it hasn’t stopped, we are working on it,” Kiaralinda said from their home, known as Whimzeyland, on Wednesday.
“People think because we’ve been out of town, and there isn’t work going on there every day, that the project has stalled. That is not the case.”
The couple are working on transferring many of the events they have hosted at Whimzey house over to the new facility, which is no easy task.
Some events held at the Whimzey compound include an annual Holiday Art Interactive Installation, intimate private concerts, art shows and even movie productions.
But putting something together like SHAMc, an interactive art and music center that benefits the entire community, takes more than just opening a building and inviting everyone to come over to hear music and look at art.
“SHAMc is like our house, but on a commercial level,” Ramquist said of the project, which was partially funded by a grant from Pepsi. “There’s a lot more to it.”
“We’ve had two delays recently, with the foundation and the main building, which is being assembled in North Carolina,” he added. “After the building is delivered and put up, then it will look like something is going on there.”
In the meantime, the pair is planning the LuWOW, an fundraising event being held at the Garden Room in Palm Harbor on Nov. 19.
For a $25 ticket, patrons will be treated to a light dinner and a live Polynesian hula show. There will also be a silent auction of donated items and artwork for sale at a reduced rate.
Kiaralinda says all the proceeds will benefit SHAMc, which in turn benefits the Safety Harbor arts scene.
“Even though the event is in Palm Harbor, we are raising awareness for SHAMc, so it benefits Safety Harbor.”
And she urges people to be patient with the process of creating something as wonderful and important as SHAMc.
“We’ve got strong support in the community and from the city, and I’m encouraged by that,” she said.
“Please enjoy the journey with us, because we don’t have an idea when it will end.”