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A giant flamingo is now greeting visitors to Tampa International Airport

Flamingo statue at TIA
Chandler Balkcom
/
WUSF Public Media
The installation is expected to be completed by late April or early May.

The 21-foot-tall art installment depicting a flamingo dipping its head underwater will be completed by late April or early May.

There’s a new attraction for travelers at Tampa International Airport, but this bird is staying in the terminal.

Created by artist Matthew Mazzotta, "HOME" is a 21-foot-tall art installment depicting a flamingo dipping its head underwater.

By incorporating lights and glass panels, this piece will give viewers the impression of being underwater.

Airport spokeswoman Ashley Iaccarino says the project first came about in 2020.

“It went through a process of selection by our public art committee. That's a committee made up of members at the airport, including our executive vice president of marketing and communications,” Iaccarino said.

Mazzota’s work — paid for by funding from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority — was selected out of more than 700 submissions by the committee.

“When our public art committee saw the flamingo, they felt that that was representative of our region and just felt that that would be the best fit for the airport,” Iaccarino said.

Flamingo statue at TIA
Chandler Balkcom
/
WUSF Public Media
The installation is expected to be completed by late April or early May.

“We have a big public art program here and it's always been very important for us to include public art in our construction."

Iaccarino said art like this is good for the airport, “not only as a way to welcome our guests, but it kind of gives our guests a sense of home.”

“Every airport has its terminals, its gates, its travelers, but how it feels during that experience is what makes the airport different.”

Iaccarino said the sculpture is already gaining attention on social media and has an official hashtag: #meetmeattheflamingo.

Construction started last week, but as of now, airport visitors can see the Flamingo’s head, neck and legs, as the rest of it comes together.

Once completed in late April or early May, the installment will be completely interactive, giving passers-by the ability to walk up and touch the flamingo.

In the meantime, Iaccarino and her team are “excited for this to be the next icon that really exemplifies Tampa International Airport.”

Rendering of the flamingo at TIA
Artist Rendering
/
Courtesy: Tampa International Airport
Created by artist Matthew Mazzotta, "HOME" is a 21-foot-tall art installment depicting a flamingo dipping its head underwater.

I am the WUSF Rush Family Multimedia Intern for spring 2022.