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Mall mobiles entertain shoppers

The display at Citrus Park is in partnership with a foundation that has previously featured whimsical art.

Published April 21, 2006

CITRUS PARK - When shoppers at Westfield Citrus Park glance upward these days, they're surprised by a splash of colors.

Three giant mobiles have taken up residence in the mall, hanging in its atriums. They include about 125 individual pieces made of pastel shades of laminated tissue paper within aluminum wiring.

Mirrors and plastic foam bead-like parts connect and keep a balance within the wired pieces. In the brightly lit atriums of the shopping center, the radiance breaks through the translucent hangings.

Gentle air flowing throughout the building turns them slowly, catching the light and giving the illusion of changing colors. "They're really very cool," shopper Brenda Schroeder said. "I love the colors."

The display is a joint effort of the mall and the nonprofit Outdoor Arts Foundation - the latest in their continued partnership. You may recall some of the arts foundation's previous whimsical and colorful displays at the mall, including painted turtles, doghouses, chairs and, most recently, sculptures of manatees. "This project has been a shining example of what can happen when business minds and artistic talent work toward a common goal," said Jay Goulde, the foundation's executive director.

Westfield marketing director Mary Ellen Norton was looking for something eye-catching for patrons to enjoy. She originally thought of large canvases. But when she approached Goulde, they decided that a pair of artists who call themselves the Whimzy Twinz would be the perfect team to create something one-of-a-kind.

"Westfield Citrus Park lends itself to large-scale events because of our high ceilings and massive overhead space," Norton said.

It took the artists two months to complete the project. It took 11 hours to install it.

Each of the three mobiles depicts a different theme. The celestial mobile has stars, moons and suns and hangs in the atrium in front of Sears. The underwater mobile features fish in shades of blue and hangs in the center court near Starbucks. The garden mobile has pink flowers and butterflies and hangs near JCPenney.

The largest piece is 35 feet by 25 feet and still appears tiny from a shopper's viewpoint. In each mobile, the largest piece hangs in the center and smaller pieces hang on each side.

Pieces of the mobiles are for sale individually or in groupings, with prices ranging from $57 to $1,000.

The creators - Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda - work and live together in Safety Harbor, where their home is widely known for the 600 bowling balls in the yard and a playful gingerbread cottage exterior.

Ramquist, 45, was born in Chicago. Kiaralinda, 45, grew up in Clearwater. Neighbors and friends since the seventh grade, they became sweethearts in high school.

As an artistic team, they create wire and plexiglass pieces that are sold in galleries and at outdoor art festivals. They also design restaurant interiors, the most recent being the Chick-A-Boom-Room in Dunedin.

Goulde of the Outdoor Arts Foundation is on to his next project, always cooking up something new.

"If I can't get the people into galleries, I take the art out and bring it to the masses," he said.

The art installation can be viewed through mid October. For more information, contact Jay Goulde at (727) 723-8620 or go online to www.outdoorartsfoundation .com, and Brochures are available at the Shopping Concierge Center behind Starbucks.

[Last modified April 20, 2006, 08:22:37]

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