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Tampa International to hang planes (by artist Esterio Segura) inside the terminal

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport is getting seven new planes. But not the kind you would first expect.

The red model planes, with wingspans ranging from 10 to 16 feet, will be suspended from the ceiling in Airside F as the latest public art project approved in the airport's big redevelopment project.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority's board approved the $200,000 public art project by Cuban artist Esterio Segura at its meeting Thursday morning.

"That piece is really for Tampa," Segura said, referring to the area's deep ties to Cuba. "It's about love."

With his work displayed all over the world, Segura has done a handful of projects in the Tampa Bay area, including working with the University of South Florida.

Segura said he was thrilled to be chosen for this project. As a child, his dream was to be a pilot, and he has focused his work on aviation and travel.

"My art is in a space that will have more visitors than any museum around the world," he said.

The planes will be lit from below, casting shadows on the ceiling in a way that people can interact with them.

"It expresses all the reasons people fly," said Chris Minner, the airport's vice president of marketing. "It shows the way aviation elevates our souls."

The board has yet to decide on the public art that will appear in the main terminal area. It is unclear when it will finish that project. The airport has set aside $3.5 million for artwork as a part of its $953 million renovation.

During the meeting, the board also accepted a $928,000 bid for a company to install 6,600 lighting fixtures over the next year.

Switching to more energy-efficient fluorescent lights, which would last two decades, would save an estimated $124,000 a year in labor and electricity.

Airport chief executive Joe Lopano said that LED lights were considered, but that rewiring the existing electrical work would be too expensive.

Contact Alli Knothe at Follow@KnotheA.