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Tampa airport in the market for $3 million in public art

This sculpture in Airside F by well-known Cuban artist Esterio Segura is part of Tampa International Airport's public art program. Segura's red planes have wingspans from 10 to 16 feet wide, with a heart in the center. Segura has said he had Tampa's deep ties to Cuba in mind as he worked on the project. "That piece is really for Tampa," he said. "It's about love." The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority's board approved the $200,000 public art project in 2016. (Photo by Chuck Bandel and Frances Recheunge)
This sculpture in Airside F by well-known Cuban artist Esterio Segura is part of Tampa International Airport's public art program. Segura's red planes have wingspans from 10 to 16 feet wide, with a heart in the center. Segura has said he had Tampa's deep ties to Cuba in mind as he worked on the project. "That piece is really for Tampa," he said. "It's about love." The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority's board approved the $200,000 public art project in 2016. (Photo by Chuck Bandel and Frances Recheunge)
Published May 29, 2019

TAMPA — As part of its continuing $2 billion expansion, Tampa International Airport is about to go shopping for more public art, and its budget is $3.1 million.

Airport officials are in the market for nine new pieces of public art, with commissions ranging from a little under $100,000 to $520,000.

The call is open to visual artists working in any medium. So what are their tastes? What are they looking for?

"Bold innovative works that reflect Tampa Bay's rich heritage and natural resources and celebrate our history as the birthplace of commercial aviation," airport executive vice president of marketing and communications Chris Minner said in an announcement Wednesday.

"Our recent public art installations bring joy to millions of passengers each year," Minner said. "We expect these new commissions to continue that legacy."

THE LAST GO-ROUND: 753 artists, one giant leatherback turtle suspended in mid-air

For the airport, bold can also mean big. When the airport debuted its new car rental center and SkyConnect train last year, it adorned the cavernous spaces with seven new works, some of them jumbo-sized art so they wouldn't get lost in a crowd, including:

Crosscurrents, a 100-foot-long moving sculpture created by Tim Prentice and David Colbert. It consists of 10 clusters of reflective brushed aluminum plates suspended to turn in even the slightest currents of air.

Palimpsest, a beaded tapestry 70 feet long and 45 feet wide by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave in collaboration with Bob Faust.

Symbols, Systems & Proportions, a 29-by-21-foot hanging sculpture by Erwin Redl. It features three curtains of 81 programmable light LED panels, each displaying a symbol or pictogram of something found at the airport such as a plane, a telephone or an escalator.

This time, the new art is expected to go up in a new commercial complex that includes an office building and at curbsides being expanded at the main terminal.

"We have identified general spaces where the artwork will live, but we don't have exact dimensions for the artwork — that will depend on the artist proposal," airport spokesman Danny Valentine said in an email. "Generally speaking, the artwork will vary in size, depending on the location and the type (free-standing, wall-mounted, etc). Some of the locations are quite large — as tall as 20 to 30 feet and as wide as 50 feet."

Airport officials say they will reach out to local, national and international artists. The Airport's Public Art Committee, whose seven members include current and former airport officials, the executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art, the manager of Tampa City Hall's arts programs and the director of the University of South Florida's Institute for Research in Art, will use a two-step process to select artworks for installation.

First, a technical evaluation committee will review qualifications to develop a short list of eligible artists, which will go to the Hillsborough Aviation Authority board for approval. Second, the public art committee will evaluate proposals from the short-listed artists. The Aviation Authority board must approval final selections.

Interested? The airport will hold an information session for artists at 3 p.m. June 10 in the Aviation Authority boardroom on the third floor of the main terminal. Artists can register to attend online and get on the mailing list for the airport's public art program by going to tampaairport.com/PublicArt. The airport also is inviting artists to build a profile with CaFÉ, which will manage the applications, through CallForEntry.org. Artists have until July 17 to apply to be considered.

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