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Tampa International unveils plans for new public art commissions

Posted at 11:08 AM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 11:08:37-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa International Airport announced plans for seven new art commissions on Thursday that will have visitors "flocking" to see them.

"Sacramento has its rabbit. Denver has its mustang. Dubai, its teddy bear," a press release said.

So, what will Tampa have? A 21-foot pink flamingo.

The massive floor-to-ceiling sculpture will depict a flaming as it dips its head beneath the surface of the water. Designed by Matthew Mazzotta, the sculpture is called "HOME," and is made of hand-sculpted resin and fiberglass.

The larger-than-life sculpture is just one of several new commissions approved by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board, according to TPA. The goal is to enhance and beautify the airport's new facilities.

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"I think we will find that HOME is aptly named as it will evoke a sense of place for those that experience the artwork," said Robin Nigh, the City of Tampa's Manager of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and a member of TPA's Public Art Committee. "The artwork should provide a visual respite; a sense of home for returning travelers and a sense of arrival for visitors. It is unique, quiet, beautiful, kitsch and fun all at once. HOME will carry the meaning of what individuals bring to it, very much like one's 'real' home."

According to a press release, the art program strives to transform and enhance the experience of guests who pass through the airport.

"We are more than a place that people simply pass through – we are the first and last impression of the Tampa Bay region," said Airport CEO Joe Lopano. "Public art is critical to creating a sense of place and leaving our guests with a unique and engaging experience."

The seven commissions were chosen from a total of 734 submissions from all over the world. The board will consider two additional commissions at a later date, the press release said.

"The artists selected for the second phase of art commissions continues a commitment to bring the highest quality of artistic excellence and experience to airport visitors," said Margaret Miller, Director and Professor of the USF Institute for Research in Art and a member of the Airport's Public Art Committee. "Tampa International Airport demonstrates the value of public art in creating a world-class city."

The other winning artists include:

  • Soo Sunny Park, of Hanover, N.H., who will produce a hanging sculpture in the new SkyCenter atrium.
  • Jason Hackenwerth, of St. Petersburg, Fla., who is creating a hanging sculpture entitled Cove for the third and fourth floor of the SkyCenter Atrium.
  • Jason Bruges, of London, England, who is creating a mixed media mural entitled Cloud Ascent to adorn the east wall of the red vertical circulation building.
  • Catherine Wagner, of Oakland, C.A., who is creating a large mural featuring photos that are laser-etched onto anodized aluminum panels, for the northwest wall of the blue vertical circulation building.
  • Jason Middlebrook, of Hudson, N.Y., who is producing a mural featuring a composition of local flora and fauna, for the northwest wall of the blue vertical circulation building.
  • Aaron Stephan, of Portland, Maine, who created a hanging sculpture out of ladders entitled Paths Rising, for the Main Terminal helix space between the Main Terminal and SkyConnect station.

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