Tampa International Airport becomes home to a series of art installations including a rather large, hungry flamingo

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In the hunt to be instagram-friendly, airports are increasingly installing large-scale artworks to delight passengers and become memorable parts of the passenger experience. After all, Sacramento has its rabbit. Denver has its mustang and further afield, Doha has it’s well documented teddy bear/desk lamp combo.

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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.

Perhaps in a less likely location, Tampa has announced it will be installing a 21-foot pink flamingo that will greet visitors passing through the Airport’s Main Terminal as part of a range of new artworks that will adorn the terminal.

The larger-than-life sculpture is one of seven new art commissions approved by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board on Thursday as part of a public art program designed to enhance and beautify TPA’s new facilities.

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Soo Sunny Park, of Hanover, N.H., who will produce a hanging sculpture in the new SkyCenter atrium.

Expected to be installed in November this year, ‘HOME’, by Matthew Mazzotta, is a massive, floor-to-ceiling sculpture depicting a flamingo dipping its head beneath the surface of the water. The immersive installation, located prominently near the Shoppes at Bayshore, transports viewers underwater, inviting them to walk up and share a simple moment in the life of one of Florida’s most well-known birds.

Tampa Airport’s public art program strives to transform and enhance the experience of millions of guests each and every year.

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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.

“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.”

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Jason Hackenwerth, of St. Petersburg, Fla., who is creating a hanging sculpture entitled Cove for the third and fourth floor of the SkyCenter Atrium.

The seven art commissions approved by the Board were selected from 734 total respondents, including many local, national and international artists. Two additional commissions will be considered by the Board at a later date.

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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.

“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.”

Executive Vice President of Marketing Chris Minner, who also sits on the Public Art Committee, says he thinks these works will make TPA’s new spaces distinctive and memorable.

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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.

“Every airport has terminals, seating, gates and travelers – and every airport functions as a gateway,” said Minner. “But how this initial experience happens – how it feels during those welcomes and goodbyes – is what elevates our shared experience and invites our travelers to become true representatives of our region.”

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