The Tampa Museum of Art commissioned digital light artist Leo Villareal to design an installation for the façade of the new museum. The exterior of the new facility features programmable light emitting diodes (LEDs), 45 feet high and 300 feet long, embedded within two-layers of perforated aluminum panels. In daylight, the museum’s façade creates a moiré-like pattern, and in darkness Villareal’s LED installation will illuminate downtown Tampa.
“As we finalized the plans for our new building, we became more committed to the incorporation of a permanent public art component as part of the building,” Todd D. Smith, the museum’s executive director recently commented. “LED lights were always a part of the overall design of the museum’s architect Stanley Saitowitz. As our museum opens its doors, it was vitally important that we make a statement about the nature of what visitors can expect from the museum experience.” “Leo is one of the pioneers in utilizing light media within the context of architecture. We wanted a bold pronouncement that one of the new directions for our collection and exhibition offerings will be in the arena of new media, and we could not think of a more appropriate artist to launch our commitment to this area than Leo Villareal.” “I am inspired by the building’s clean, minimal expanse,” said Leo Villareal. “The Tampa Museum of Art is ideally situated in a dynamic city surrounded by beautiful parks, the riverfront and university. “Sky (Tampa)” will reflect the life and activity around it, functioning as a mirror to a diverse audience.”