If you were to ask someone what animal comes to mind when you say "Florida," you'd probably bet money on getting the gator as your top reply. But if you specifically asked about birds? Our peachy colored pal the flamingo perching on one leg might've popped into your lobes. And with no shortage of places to see flamingos in Florida, it seems fitting that the Tampa International Airport would pay homage to the feathered friend by way of a 21-foot tall sculpture — and they're finally looking to give it a name!
In an Instagram post made by flytpa, the Tampa International Airport teases the event with a short reel to the tune of Destiny's Child's late 90s hit, Say My Name, the caption reads, "Something’s missing…TOMORROW 👀."
Beneath an ambient glow casting an underwater effect on the floor and flamingo below, a huge pink name tag reading "Hello, My Name Is" perches nearby, with something seemingly missing in the big blank space, before panning over the sculpture in a series of short cuts.
While we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what name will take up that space, commenters were quick to throw in some suggestions, including a few cute and catchy ones, such as Floyd, Flo, Florence, Frankie, Frannie, Pinky, Ricky, and Phil. But one commenter took it as the perfect opportunity to reference the "Rap God" himself, Eminem, with a simple and sweet, "Slim Shady."
Created by artist Matthew Mazzotta, the artwork, titled "Home", can be found nestled near the Shoppes at Bayshore on the third level of the main terminal. The piece is one of seven different art installations commissioned as a part of the airport's public art program, launched in March of 2020.
“I think we will find that HOME is aptly named as it will evoke a sense of place for those that experience the artwork,” said City of Tampa's Manager of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Robin Nigh.
"The artwork should provide a visual respite; a sense of home for returning travelers and a sense of arrival for visitors. It is unique, quiet, beautiful, kitsch and fun all at once. HOME will carry the meaning of what individuals bring to it, very much like one’s ‘real’ home.”
The $520,000 sculpture experienced a handful of delays following its original unveiling estimate set for November 2020, but was completed sometime in September 2022, following months of hand-crafting the massive fiber glass, resin, and steel piece — as well as testing and refining the underwater effect created by the overhead lights delicately dancing through the reflective ceiling panels.
In the spirit of one commenter's excitement about throwing in their vote to name the flamingo, Flockin' for FINALLY!
Want to help name Tampa's iconic flamingo too? Pop your suggestion onto flytpa's post here.
Article by Rachael Volpe