GOOD Maker Finalist: Swings Tampa Bay Puts a Whimsical Spin on Community Building

In Tampa Bay, Florida, there are more than 100 handmade swings scattered across the city and its surrounding communities thanks to Swings Tampa Bay.

All it takes is a rope swing—and a few curious passersby—to turn a patch of shade under a giant tree into a playground. In Tampa Bay, Florida, there are more than 100 handmade swings scattered across the city and its surrounding communities thanks to Reuben Pressman and Hunter Payne of Swings Tampa Bay, an organization known locally for its experiments in urban recreation and “spontaneous community building.” If you’re lucky enough to spot one of their calling cards, don’t be too shy to stop and play. We think Swings Tampa Bay, a top-three finisher in the Brookside Foods Giving Back Challenge on GOOD Maker, is onto something.

Pressman and Payne created their first swing as an environmental design project at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg. “We wanted to get the attention of classmates walking along the pathway to our classroom," the pair says. "Our goal was to challenge their perception of a familiar environment and encourage them to engage with each other and enjoy the present moment.” They’ve preserved this spirit of community in each of their installations, which locals can find everywhere from pedestrian overpasses to the inside of the Roosevelt 2.0 gallery in Tampa.

Swings Tampa Bay also enlists the creative talents of the community for their “Let’s Paint Swings!” parties, which brings new and old friends together to design masterpieces of their own. Today over 1,000 swings have received a fresh coat of paint and been made ready for the open air. And next month, Tampa residents will be treated to a studio show featuring 75 swings, plus a custom-made swing set, personalized by resident artists at the Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center.

What’s the next experiment for Swings Tampa Bay? While the paradox of “spontaneous planning” is not lost on Pressman and Payne, they say locals can keep their eyes out for another installation built for two: a see-saw. They can also expect to find buckets of sidewalk chalk around St. Petersburg for a project inspired by pavement poets like Peter Kageyama. Residents will be invited to doodle a message to the city or leave behind something original, uplifting and unexpected for others to read. “Tampa Bay will grow stronger as a community as we encourage each other to spontaneously step out of our daily routine,” Payne says.

Want to learn more about Swings Tampa Bay? Visit for information about their upcoming whimsical ventures.

Want to submit your own ideas to GOOD Maker? Check out the pipeline of current funding opportunities at GOOD Maker, and click here to sign up for the GOOD Maker email list.


Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less