How did a flamingo end up in the main terminal at TPA?

A 21-foot flamingo is the talk of  Tampa International Airport.

The flamingo is part of TPA’s public art program that has been in place for years.

"As part of our phase two master plan project, we committed, $3.1 million to public art. Matthew Mazzotta won the commission for this location and presented to the art committee- a flamingo," explained Kelley Figley with the TPA public art program.

The exhibit is called ‘Home’. It’s a colorful floor-to-ceiling sculpture that depicts a flamingo gently dipping its head beneath the surface of the water.

Artist Matthew Mazzotta created the flamingo as part of an exhibit called ‘Home’.

"When people come up the escalator or around the corner and the sculpture reveals itself, it is so fun to watch," Figley said. "People are amazed at finding a flamingo in the middle of the main terminal."

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To give travelers the feeling of being underwater when they interact with the flamingo, TPA put projectors and gobo’s in the ceiling. They also have a reflective, highly-polished ceiling to create the illusion.

The flamingo has become a meeting place for travelers. 

"It really took a lot of years to plan it. It took three years of planning and design and building the sculpture," said Figley. "We just had recently the final walk-through with these artists. It’s done. The barricades are gone and the response from the community and travelers through the airport has been spectacular."

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"It is so much fun to watch people interact and look at the sculpture in awe," shared Figley. "Some people want to take a picture. Some people stand and look at it and are just amazed."

TPA used reflective lighting, projectors and gobo's to give people the feeling of being underwater when near the flamingo. 

She says the sculpture has become a meeting place in the center of the airport.

"I think once people arrive at Tampa International Airport and see the flamingo…," said Figley. "I think it says a lot about our city and who we are."

Matthew Mazzotta’s flamingo sculpture was chosen out of 734 art proposals submitted from around the world.