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A Giant Flamingo Will Soon Hang From Tampa International Airport's Main Terminal

Mar 6, 2020

You’ve seen them in the yards of your neighbors, in zoos across the state or in wildlife parks and nature reserves. Now, the flamingo will soon be on display at Tampa International Airport.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board on Thursday approved a sculpture of a 21-foot pink flamingo stationed at Tampa International Airport’s main terminal.

The piece aims to beautify the airport’s facility while also serving as the airport’s own iconic centerpiece –– similar to Sacramento’s rabbit sculpture or Denver’s “Blue Mustang.”

The floor-to-ceiling sculpture, titled “HOME,” depicts a flamingo dipping its head below water. Matthew Mazzota, a New York-based artist, used resin and fiberglass to create the effect of light shimmering under the water’s surface to immerse guests passing by.

“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, in the news release. “The artwork should provide a visual respite; a sense of home for returning travelers and a sense of arrival for visitors.”

It’s one of seven new public pieces commissioned by the authority board and part of the airport’s public art program – which aims to build a “diverse art collection that reflects (Tampa Bay’s) community."

A hanging sculpture called "COVE" by artist Jason Hackenwerth, of St. Petersburg, will be featured on the third and fourth floor of the SkyCenter Atrium.
Credit COURTESY: TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Of the new pieces, only one is from a local artist. Jason Hackenwerth, who is based in St. Petersburg, is creating a hanging sculpture is called “COVE” and will be featured on the third and fourth floor of the SkyCenter Atrium.

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

Other works include ladders jutting from the ceiling of the helix space between the Main Terminal and SkyConnect station by Aaron Stephan; a mural featuring a composition of local flora and fauna on the northwest wall of the blue vertical circulation building by Jason Middlebrook; a mural featuring photos that are laser-etched onto aluminum panels on the northwest wall of the blue vertical circulation building by Catherine Wagner; and more.