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TPA reactivates Public Art Committee for expansion projects

(March 16, 2015) - Tampa International Airport is reactivating its decades-old Public Art Committee to help commission new artwork for the airport’s historic $953 million expansion and further build on its long history of commitment to public art.Final Board Call by Christopher Still in Airside C

The 10-person committee will be responsible for vetting and selecting all the artists and artwork and making a recommendation to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board. 

On Thursday, the Aviation Authority Board appointed 10 people to the committee, including:

        Former Board member Ken Anthony

        Dr. Seth D. Pevnick, Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Tampa Museum of Art

        Dr. Kent Lydecker, Museum Director at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

        Margaret Miller, Professor and Director at the University of South Florida

        Robin Nigh, Public Art Manager with the City of Tampa

        Dan Myers, Public Art Coordinator with Hillsborough County

        Joe Lopano, Airport Chief Executive Officer

        Chris Minner, Airport Vice President of Marketing

        Jeff Siddle, Airport Assistant Vice President of Planning & Development

        Paul Ridgeway, Airport Director of Maintenance.

“Having vibrant public art throughout all our new spaces will tremendously enhance and enrich the experiences of our more than 17.5 million guests. It’s an essential part of our historic expansion,” said Minner, who is spearheading the initiative. “The team we have put together comes from a diverse set of backgrounds and truly understands the importance of public art.”

Over the next two months, the Airport is planning robust outreach to artists at the local, national and international levels. Later this year, the airport will inform artists how to make a submission.

The airport already has a wide-ranging public art inventory made up of 30 different collections valued at approximately $11 million. The collections are located throughout the airport’s public spaces – from the Airsides and Main Terminal to the Economy Parking Garage – and serve as a form of collective community expression. With widely varying styles and mediums, many pieces highlight distinguishing features of the Tampa Bay region or the significance of aviation travel.                                                                                                                        

There’s the hand-woven wool tapestries lining the walls of baggage claim. Initially installed in 1988 for artistic and acoustic reasons, the 22 tapestries were meticulously woven by 20 women from Phumlalanga, Swaziland in Africa.

There’s the 1,300-pound aluminum Orange Blossom! sculpture gracing Airside C, which was originally designed to be a tulip before the airport asked the artist to change it to better reflect the region.

Then there’s the stimulating Sea Shadows – Source, Shadows and Surface exhibit inside of the Economy Parking Garage that highlights the importance of conserving our oceans and features important research by the USF College of Marine Sciences in St. Petersburg.

The oldest pieces date back to 1939, including seven large Works Progress Administration murals by St. Petersburg artist George Snow Hill that hang in Airside E. The murals depict the development of flight, dating all the way back to Archimedes, the Greek mathematician who developed laws governing the floatation of objects through gas.

Many of the pieces show remarkable attention to detail.

Take Final Boarding Call, an oil-on-linen painting by artist Christopher Still featuring an emotional goodbye before flight. Set during the Golden Age of airline travel, the picture is full of era-appropriate details from the plane and its logo to the vintage luggage and boarding passes. The “LUV TPA” sticker on the pilot’s flight bag is also an exact replica of the actual sticker given out in 1971 to celebrate the newly expanded and modernized Tampa International Airport.

The Authority’s Public Art program was created in 1998 and was last activated in 2008 to commission artwork for the second phase of the Economy Parking Garage.