Back in college, an old friend used to say that everyone – adults included – should be required to spend 15 minutes a day with the wind in their hair, feet in the air, riding back and forth on a swing.
Her theory was that after a 15 minute swing session, no one could be sad, upset, or stressed out about anything. Now, there’s a new place in Fayetteville to put that theory to the test.
Artist Craig Colorusso, in partnership with local fabrication studio Modus Shop, and Uptown Apartments + Shops, recently installed three adult-sized “sound swings” on the Uptown property, near Mud Creek Trail.
Colorusso said he was approached to create something for the project after Sarah King, marketing and community outreach officer for Specialized Real Estate Group, saw one of his installations at a recent show at Art Center of the Ozarks.
“Sarah saw my work and liked it, and told her boss Jeremy Hudson about it, and they asked me to come up with something for Uptown,” Colorusso said.
The artist came up with several concepts for the development, but the idea for the sound swings immediately resonated with King.
“I’ve always had a connection with swings,” King said. “I just love them. There is something so joyful and freeing about them.”
The swings are part playground equipment, part art installation because, in addition to working the way you’d expect swings to work, they also play an elaborate musical composition created by the artist.
Each swing plays a different part of Colorusso’s composition that, if played simultaneously from start to finish, would last 55 days.
The tones, however, likely aren’t played to line up perfectly, meaning that each experience on the swings and the accompanying music they hear is unique for the user.
Colorusso, a trained musician-turned artist, designed the swings and the accompanying music so that no matter what order the notes are played, they sound good together. The tones, he said, are intended to enhance the feeling of flight you get when you’re on a swing.
Colorusso said he hasn’t personally been on a swing in years, but he’s been spending more time around them lately.
“I have a three year old, and she loves to swing,” he said. “I think that’s kind of what got me thinking in that direction.”
The child-like expressions on the faces of folks who tried out the swings for the first time at a soft opening event recently were the perfect validation for Colorusso’s installation, he said.
“Sarah pointed out to me the faces of everyone who tried the swing for the first time,” Colorusso said. “And person after person, everyone had such a huge smile on their face when they heard the music. That was really cool.”
The swings have some other unique features as well. Instead of being placed parallel, they were built to face each other to create an interactive experience. They are also created to sound best when all three swings are moving simultaneously, in order to encourage people to ride together.
That is also by design, King said.
“It goes along with our overall mission of creating a healthy place to live,” King said. “That’s more than just using environmentally friendly building materials. We’ve tried to incorporate spaces for people to meet, interact, and hang out on the property.
“We’ve also tried to create places for adults to play and have fun, because all of that factors into people’s health and well-being as well,” King said.
The swings aren’t just intended to be used by residents of the apartment complex, or for customers of the upcoming retail shops and restaurant that will soon open in the development, either. King said they have been placed near the edge of the property near the Mud Creek Trail so that anyone walking or biking by can stop and enjoy a few carefree moments on the swings.
“It’s a public area, and we want everyone to come and enjoy the swings whether they are just biking by, or if they’re on their way in for a cold pressed juice, ice cream, craft beer, or coffee. They are made for the whole community to enjoy,” she said.