This project was created by me: Elsie Gilmore – artist, professional weirdo and world-renowned hugger. I’m a hug evangelist, and I think hugging strangers will help heal the world.

I’m also a web developer with almost 20 years of experience.

Back in 2007, I founded, grew and sold a women’s networking company called Women With Moxie in Sarasota, Florida. I also had a radio show called Sarasota After Dark and organized a miniature golf tournament.

I’m a fan of guerrilla art and activism. For instance, I orchestrated a late-night yarn bombing of an iconic Patrick Farrow statue in my hometown of Rutland, Vermont. I’ve orchestrated pop-up living rooms in parking spaces. I’ve given free hugs to strangers on many occasions. Those are the kinds of thing I live for!

The 5000 hugs on this website are part digital asset, part real life hug, and part social experiment. They are an interactive art project that I invite you to be a part of.

This project is the culmination of many years working in tech as a web developer and many years giving free hugs for fun and as art.

Phase 1 of the project wraps up on my 50th birthday (2.14.2023)!

Want to contribute to project without buying a hug? You can do that here! Otherwise:

The Hugmobile

This project will be used to fund The Hugmobile. I’m well known for my FREE HUGS and as a hug evangelist. The Hugmobile will be used for FREE HUGS and other events, loved-centered activism, and spreading joy with fun social experiments and merchandise.

The Hugmobile will be a playground for joy, a laboratory for connection, a safe place for vulnerable peoples, and a collaboratorium of fun ideas and activism.

Phase 2 of the project will be to use The Hugmobile to give away the 5000 hugs!