Fresh art at Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport is one those airports with an extensive, eclectic and very valuable, collection of permanent public art.

Some of my favorite pieces in the collection include the 22 tapestries in the baggage claim area made by 20 women from Phumalanga, Swaziland in Africa.

Tampa Airport Tapestries

(Photo courtesy Tampa Airport)

And the seven WPA-era murals by George Snow Hill depicting the history of flight.

Tampa airport murals

These murals are especially incredible to see because they were ignored for years and almost destroyed.

From the airport’s website:

In the late 1930’s, local artist George Snow Hill was commissioned to create these murals to adorn the walls of Tampa’s newly built Peter O. Knight Airport. Hill artistically interpreted the history of flight through the contributions made by Icarus and Daedalus, Archimedes, The Montgolfier Brothers, Otto Lilienthal, Tony Jannus, The Wright Brothers, and a triptych, capturing the first scheduled airline flight in history.

The murals were removed from the walls of the Peter O. Knight Airport upon demolition in 1965, and restored by George Snow Hill himself. In 1971, they were relocated to the new terminal building, where only the triptych and the Wright Brothers mural hung in the airport’s executive suite. The others were rolled and placed in storage, untouched for years.

You can read more about the Tampa airport’s art collection here, but be sure to scroll down to the notes about a brand new temporary exhibit featuring blown glass vessels and sculptures by Owen Pach, on display in the airport’s renovated art gallery.

Owen Pach glass art at Tampa

“Fiery Passion – The Beauty of Glass”will be on display through March 2011.

For more information about Owen Pach, see this website.

And for a general guide to Tampa International Airport, see my list of airport guides on USATODAY.com.