Like all airports, Tampa International is all about planes coming and going, but starting this fall it will also be for the birds. Well, bird, actually, as in singular, which this specimen certainly is in more ways than one. That's because it's a 21-foot tall pink flamingo.
As you may have guessed by now, the flamingo in question isn't real: It's a sculpture by Boston artist Matthew Mazzotta. It's also part of a $2.4 billon public art initiative that was recently approved by the airport’s governing board, which is commissioning seven pieces to spruce up the facilities. Mazzotta's work, titled Home, is budgeted at $520,000 and will be made of fiberglass.
The flamingo is pictured as if its head were underwater, with its beak touching the floor while its sinuous neck rises up to a huge, clear panel mounted on the ceiling to represent the water's surface; light passing through its rippled texture creates a dappled pattern on the concourse below. You can also see both of its legs poking into view, along with a third one off to the side—which presumably belongs to another flamingo, doing that weird sleeping-while-standing-on-one-foot thing that flamingos do.
Mazzotta's tableau is surreal, to say the least, but that's nothing new for the artist. Past projects have included a "teahouse" in the Dutch countryside that looked like a shaggy coconut; it was divided into segments that unfolded into chaise lounges. Also, for a town in Nebraska, he created a Main Street style storefront, where the facade hinged down like a sofa bed to reveal a set of bleachers.
Whatever else travelers will make of Mazzotta's effort it will definitely let them know they're in Florida. And speaking of traveling, whether you're in Tampa for a brief stop-over or an extended stay, you'll want to check out our recommendations for Tampa's best restaurants and things to do. And if, for some reason, you neglected to book accommodations, don't forget to consult our list of the city's best hotels.Share the story