St. Petersburg, FL – St. Petersburg resident Elsie Gilmore invites you to participate in her 5000 Hugs interactive art project that runs through February 2023. The project blends Gilmore’s experience as an interactive performance artist and her skills as a web developer.
5000 Hugs revolves around a website (www.5000hugs.com) that sells digital hugs. Users are invited to buy a digital hug on the website for $10 (or a “supercharged” version for $25). A unique serial number is created for each one, and they are listed in a registry. For each registry entry, there is a record that logs the history of that hug.
In the second phase of the project, Gilmore will begin turning the digital hugs into real-life hugs given to attendees at her hug appearances. With each hug given, the hug recipient receives a card containing instructions that include the unique serial number for a specific digital hug on the website. They can then participate on the website by registering their receipt of the hug, which becomes part of the history log.
5000 Hugs is a fundraiser for creation of The Hugmobile, A Mobile Hug Dispensary and Joy Clinic. During and after the project, The Hugmobile will be used as a vehicle (both literal and figurative) for art and activism activities.
In particular, Gilmore is concerned about the polarization that is dividing our country and, in many cases, the world. This project was inspired, in part, by her love of giving hugs to strangers. “When you are standing out there giving free hugs, you don’t think about who the other person is. You don’t think about their politics or religion or anything about them. You just see a fellow human who could use a hug. That’s the part I like best,” said Gilmore, who’s been giving public hugs for more than a decade.
If the project sells out in advance, a limited edition Hug Ambassador bundle will offered on the website as a stretch goal.
While Gilmore is based in Florida, the project is open for anyone anywhere to buy the limited-edition digital hugs. The first phase of the project began on 8.15.2022 and wraps up on 2.14.2023 on Gilmore’s 50th birthday with a celebratory party.
About Elsie Gilmore
Elsie Gilmore is a St. Petersburg artist and entrepreneur. She’s a member of the Artist Enclave of Historic Kenwood and owns the web development company Solid Red Studios. She is a mixed media and performance artist, a writer and an activist.