17:28 PM

Tampa International Airport inks deals with artists for new public art

(April 7, 2016) The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board on Thursday approved contracts for new public art at seven locations as part of Tampa International Airport’s Master Plan expansion. 

The proposed new art is wide-ranging, both in style and medium, and includes everything from hanging digital installations to abstract images to an aluminum sculpture that features hand-typed stories and photos of Tampa.

Two of the pieces will be located inside the new consolidated rental car center, three will be found inside the automated people mover stations and two will be housed inside Airside F. The total budget for the seven pieces of art is approximately $1.8 million.

“Our call to artists was heard locally and around the world,” said Chris Minner, TPA’s Vice President of Marketing. “The caliber of the artists and their proposals were truly remarkable. This public art will make unique and lasting memories for the millions of travelers who see it every year. It’s going to be something really special.”

The art, by location:

  • Rental car center – North escalator core of customer service building: Erwin Redl of New York, NY, has proposed a suspended LED light installation titled, “Symbols, Systems and Proportions.” The installation consists of three curtains of 81 programmable light panels, with each light panel displaying a symbol or pictogram commonly found at airports.
  • Rental car center – South escalator core of customer service building: Chicago-based artists Nick Cave and Bob Faust are designing a contemporary dimensional tapestry titled “Palimpsest” made of beads woven in text-based patterns.
  • Automated People Mover station at the rental car center – Between the rental car lobby and the train arrivals lobby: Artists Tim Prentice and David Colbert, based in West Cornwall, Conn., are constructing a 100-foot long hanging sculpture made of clusters reflective aluminum plates. The plates will move with the slightest current of air and be angled to pick up the variety of color in the space.
  • Automated People Mover station at the Economy Garage – Two locations, located on opposite ends of the station near escalators: Sheryl Oring of Greensboro, N.C. has proposed a sculpture with a performance-based, socially engaging component. Titled “Greetings from Tampa,” Oring will invite Tampa residents to share stories and memories about their city. The hand-typed stories and photos of Tampa will then be printed on aluminum and form the material for the sculpture.
  • Automated People Mover station at the Main Terminal – Hanging in the center of the station: Newton, Mass.-based artist Ralph Helmick is designing a hanging sculpture titled “n + 1” that will be installed over the escalator bank inside the automated people mover station at the Main Terminal. The 10-foot-wide sculpture shows a leatherback sea turtle. Hovering above the turtle, hundreds of fine cables will hold more than a thousand small sculptures of turtle hatchlings. Collectively, these sleek hatchlings coalesce into a twenty-five-foot-wide adult turtle, identical in shape to the one below.
  • Airside F – Hanging in the trusses just past TSA security: Daniel Canogar, of New York, NY, is making a sculpture out of ribbon-shaped metal strips and LED screens that coil around the trusses of Airside F’s central space. The video animations are meant to evoke native vines curling around a trellis, part of the artists’ fascination with “representations of ruins that depict nature reabsorbing what was built by humans.” The installation is titled “Tendril.”
  • Airside F – International Arrivals hall: Elisabeth Condon, of Tampa and Brooklyn, NY, is producing a mixed-media painting titled “Verdant Tampa Bay.” The painting will measure 8 feet by 8 feet and depict Tampa Bay’s “exuberant and immersive landscape.”

The artists were selected following an extensive outreach that targeted local, state, national and international artists in all mediums. The Airport received 753 responses to a Call for Artist applications in August 2015. A committee of Airport staff and external public art experts then whittled down the applications to a short list of 51, and those artists were invited to submit a proposal for a specific location.

The short-listed artists presented their proposals earlier this year to the Airport’s Public Art Committee, which was made up of art professionals, community members and Airport staff. Members included former HCAA Board member Ken Anthony, Dr. Seth D. Pevnick of the Tampa Museum of Art, Dr. Kent Lydecker of St. Petersburg’s Fine Art Museum, Margaret Miller with the University of South Florida, Robin Nigh with the City of Tampa and Dan Myers with Hillsborough County. Airport representatives included Minner, Jeff Siddle and Paul Ridgeway.

“The success of Tampa International’s public art program is a direct result of the hard work put in by the individuals on this committee and the Airport’s outstanding staff,” said Minner. “We are so grateful for the hundreds of hours they logged and the time they took out of their busy schedules to be a part of this important process.”