This quirky pink museum in Sarasota is filled with whimsical items

On U.S Highway 41 in Sarasota, a pink building with a gigantic flamingo and life-sized snowman will catch your attention. 

"With glass, I love that the color comes through and you just see the unadulterated color," said Marietta Lee. 

Inside the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, be prepared to have your breath taken away. 

"This is Robert Johnson. He's out of Anna Maria," said Lee. 

Marietta Lee -- or as everyone calls her "Mary" -- founded the non-profit museum in Sarasota. There's a garden and art work from more than 250 diverse artists. 

"This is an art piece by Bruce Cook. A lot of the artists want to personalize the artwork. The most important ingredient Bruce uses is his imagination and his sense of humor," said Lee. 

You'll notice a common theme: Bright colors, smiling faces, happy times and cats. Lots of cats. 

"I have no idea how many I have, but I've heard it's between 100 and 200," said Lee. 

There's a reason why her museum is filled with all of these vibrant pieces. 

"My dad had a big stroke and after that I was doing caregiving. I needed a place to go to relax and kind of calm down," said Lee. 

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Mary tried visiting museums, but she never left with the happy feeling she longed for. 

"That's how I chose what sort of art ends up in this collection," she said. 

Judging by the crowds, you can say she has the right recipe for success. Mary has made it her mission for you to forget about what's going on outside and to enjoy the experience. 

"Our mission is to make people feel a little better about their situations or themselves. I'm hoping that they are walking into a happy, positive space. I hope that this effects them and touches them in such a way that makes them feel better," she said. 

Her plan seems to be working. 

"I'm away from house cleaning. I'm away from all the things I don't like to do. This is my escape," said Juanita Cooke. 

Mary's regular visitors like Juanita Cooke and Dee Wright often become volunteers. 

"It puts me in a good mood. I forget about the stuff that's going on in life," Wright said. 

They work to help spread her mission of brining smiles and helping others forget their troubles. It's all about remembering the good times. 

"Most people leave with a big smile on their face and we know that we've reached them in a very good and positive way," said Lee. 

The museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It's operated by volunteers and donations from visitors. 

LINK: For more information, visit the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy's website.