TAMPA, Fla. — The wait is over: the giant flamingo has finally landed at Tampa International Airport.
Titled “HOME,” the long-awaited, 21-foot sculpture shows a flamingo as it dips its head beneath the surface of the water, an illusion created by metal panels and lighting that’ll be attached to the ceiling.
“This was the idea: can we make it an immersive experience where we’re actually minimized and nature is above us, and we get to look at this thing from a whole different perspective,” said Matthew Mazzotta, the artist behind the flamingo.
TPA gave ABC Action News a glimpse into the installation of the giant bird, getting the head, neck, and legs in place. Renderings show what it’ll look like when the project is finished.
Airport staff shared the sculpture has gotten a lot of attention since it was first announced following approval by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s Board of Directors in February 2020.
Joe Lopano, Tampa International Airport’s CEO, thinks it is a reflection of the personality of Tampa, something you see and can’t help but smile.
“I am hoping, and I know this will happen, that people will actually come to TPA just to take a picture with the flamingo. They may not have any other business here,” said Lopano. “I believe that they’ll come and Instagram who’s by the flamingo, and when you come out here you say, hey listen, why don’t you meet me at the airport, I’ll meet you at the flamingo.”
It’s a welcomed addition taking shape to show off the flavor of Florida. Susan Williams, who was flying out of TPA on Friday, spotted the signature bird, stopped, and had to snap a picture.
“This is our first time at the airport, and that’s a beautiful sculpture, and I thought wow, what better way to represent Florida than those pink flamingos,“ said Williams.
TPA says project completion will take several weeks as ceiling panels that will give the illusion that the bird is dipping its head underwater still need to be installed. It says the project should be fully completed in late April or early May.