Hello again to my fellow qwirk and color lovers!
Located in Pittsburgh’s North Side, is an off-the-wall garden museum featuring a collection of zany wall murals and a cluster of reclaimed creations brimming with color and personality. The place we are talking about is none other than Randyland, otherwise known as “the most painted house in the world”.
Randyland is a colorful ode to joy created by self-taught artist and homeowner Randy Gilson, whose dedication to joy, creativity, and his community is clearly represented in his masterpiece. He purchased the quirky building on the corner (in a then sketchier part of Pittsburgh) back in 1995 for a mere sum of $10K. On a part-time waiter’s salary, Randy had no way of getting approved for a mortgage, so he made the purchase using his credit card.
Over the years, Randy (a die-hard salvager) used numerous recycled artifacts and donated “junk” as canvases to his art. His tips as a waiter have also helped in making Randyland what is it today. For Randy, color is therapy and the last 23 years have been spent painting and adorning his building’s exterior and garden with some of the most unusual artifacts in some of the most funkiest patterns and the brightest colors. He does get help at times, but for a large part of the journey, it’s been only him.
Among the multi-colored patterned staircase is a meticulously hand painted neon green vine making its way up the handrails. A family of giant rainbow butterflies are permanently positioned between the second floor windows. A back wall is filled with colorful signs indicating the nationalities of the thousands of people that flock to the site each year. Colorful garden chairs hang from magnificent heights along the metal fire escape railing. There’s so much more to feast your eyes on with an element of surprise in every turn. I could not even begin to scratch the surface. You will have to see for yourself just how much heart and soul went into the making of this special place.
Randyland has become a main attraction and a catalyst in the recent revitalization of the Mexican War Streets district in Pittsburgh’s North Side. The neighborhood now boasts some of the most beautifully restored historic streets in Pittsburgh in addition to a nice selection of art exhibits and museums to visit. That’s a far stretch from the run-down urban stomping ground that it used to be back in 1995.
Randyland is located at 1501 Arch Street in Pittsburgh, PA. You can’t miss it. It’s the painted rainbow-bright yellow building on the corner of Arch and Jacksonia. The train and bus drops you off a few blocks away. Though it may be easier to drive or Uber directly to the site, as Pittsburgh is more of a driving city.
Admission is free, but donations are always welcomed. The eccentric outdoor museum is open to the public from 10am til dusk (which is somewhere around 7pm).
Since Randyland is never complete and always a work in progress, oftentimes in the afternoon, Randy can be seen in his colorful paint splattered clothing working away on a project. He’s quite chatty and approachable, so feel free to strike up a conversation if you see him!
If you’re headed for Pittsburgh’s North Side, Randyland has got to be on your list of happy things to see. It’s a cheerful little haven designed to light up the entire neighborhood and it will certainly light you up too.
Lady Miss Neptune here wishing you a bright, happy, and qwirky journey! We’ll catch up again very soon!
1. Featured image adapted from “Randyland Courtyard and House Mural” by popscreenshot under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. – 2. Image adapted from “Randyland” by fatherspoon under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. – 3. Image adapted from “Randyland” by popscreenshot under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. – 4. Image adapted from “Stairs wonderland” by daveynin under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. – 5. Image adapted from “Mexican War Streets Pittsburgh” by paytonchung under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. – 6. Image adapted from “Randyland Mirror wall Made for Selfies” by popscreenshot under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
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