Tampa International Airport issues worldwide call for artists

Artists from around the world have the opportunity to showcase their talents as part of Tampa International Airport’s $953-million, multi-year upgrade. TIA and Hillsborough County’s Aviation Authority Board will award contracts to 12 artists for art pieces to display throughout the refurbished airport.

“The new public artwork is an essential part of the upgrades,” says TIA Communications Manager Danny Valentine. “We strongly believe that public art will enhance and enrich the experience for the more than 17 million guests who visit our airport every year.”

The call for artists comes in a year when the airport jumped from No. 3 to No. 2 in the Airport Service Quality Awards, and began construction on extensive upgrades that are expected to be completed by 2017.

TIA will issue a call to artists on Monday, August 17, but interested parties can begin building an online CaFÉ portfolio. The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 14.

Many types of art will be considered, from sculpture to hanging art.

“We have intentionally left the call open to all visual artists so as to get a robust and wide range of forms of artwork,” Valentine says. “The choice of artwork will be up to the Public Art Committee.”

The committee, which will judge submitted work and make a final artist recommendation to the Aviation Authority Board, includes the following members of the Tampa Bay community:
  • Former Aviation Authority Board member Ken Anthony
  • Seth D. Pevnick, Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Tampa Museum of Art
  • 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.
TIA’s committee will select up to 12 finalists and present the artists to the board for “final approval and contract award,” Valentine explains.

The Tampa airport’s public art inventory is valued at $11 million, with art from over 30 different collections distributed throughout the airport’s many public spaces. Common themes include the Tampa Bay area and aviation, but decades of artworks from international and local artists combine to give the airport’s collection a wide range. In one baggage claim area, 22 tapestries woven by 20 women from Swaziland, Africa, hang as both an art display and an improvement on acoustics; a flower sculpture that weighs over 1,000 pounds hangs in one airside. A set of murals by a local St. Petersburg artist, George Snow Hill, dates back to 1939.  

Interested in adding your artwork to the collection? Criteria for artist submissions include:
  • A statement of interest that articulates the Artist’s, or Artist Team’s, desire to participate.
  • A resume (one resume per artist team), emphasizing experience in public art and working with public agencies.
  • Confirmation that Artist has completed a commission or sold, at a minimum, one piece of artwork at a value of at least $15,000
  • No more than 10 images that fairly represent the Artist’s, or Artist Team’s, body of work.
  • Three references for recently completed projects.
Local, state, national and international artists will be considered. Interested artists who have not met the minimum qualifications may enter the competition as an Artist Team by collaborating with another artist to submit an application.

To learn more, visit the TIA Call for Artists page or the Public Art program website.

Read more articles by Justine Benstead.

Justine Benstead is a feature writer for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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