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Eckerd College art professor leaves lasting impression at Tampa International Airport

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Posted at 10:21 AM, Apr 29, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Now that more people are feeling safe to travel again, the Tampa International Airport expects to see an increase in visitors.

The airport hopes, instead of walking that straight line right to the gate, passengers take the time to stop and look around a little bit.

More than 700 artists from across the globe applied to have their work on display at the airport.

“The airport is often the first and last impression that people have of the Tampa Bay area so it’s critical that we make a memorable experience and public art helps do that,” said Kelly Figley, with the Tampa International Airport Public Art Program.

The airport ended up selecting nine artists to create installations. One of them is Eckerd College professor and St. Pete resident Jason Hackenwerth.

“When I first found out I was selected I did my little dance, and I was really thrilled about it,” said Hackenwerth. “This was special to me because it's a permanent piece that’s going to be here that I can share with my family, who are also here and that really meant a lot.”

Hackenwerth’s stainless steel creation is hanging in the new Sky Center Atrium, slated to open later this year.

“It was really important to integrate the art and artist into the construction process,” said Figley.

Hackenwerth spent more than a year constructing the installation, illuminated from the sun streaming in from the large glass windows. He named it, "Cove."

“Some aquatic life or some biological forms that you might find under the water, I mean when you are coming across the bridge here you see the bay and this majestic place,” said Hackenwerth.

Hackenwerth’s goal was every time you walk by, it will look different.

“Each of these pieces is on a swivel allowing every single individual piece to move independently and when the air conditioning comes on they sort of slowly rotate around one another always changing never the same thing twice,” said Hackenwerth.

So just in case you forget to pack your imagination on your next trip, this art professor has you covered.

“I think when people come around the corner and they encounter this they’ll certainly have that awww moment,” said Hackenwerth.

For more on Hackenwerth’s art go to Jasonhackenwerth.com.