Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with Meochia Thompson, the creator of an ArtPrize 10 project that will be happening at Calder Plaza called H.U.G. - Help Uplift Goodness.  Her goal during ArtPrize is to hug over 25,000 people with her HUG project making Grand Rapids, HUG City, and is hoping you will want to join in the love!

Ask Meochia why hugs?  And she’ll tell you,

Hugs benefit everyone. Science proves that hugs increase endorphins inside our bodies and even help us live longer. They just make us all feel better. Anyone can do it and everybody can have one. HUGS cross color and race lines, social-economic lines, injustices and lifelines. They are much needed and much appreciated and I want to make sure everyone has access to a HUG that stops by.

 

My goal is to win ArtPrize 2018, HUG the world, kick start our love engines and brand Grand Rapids as HUG City GR!

 

She’s planning to have the HUG stage, which is in the building stages, set up in front of city hall at Calder Plaza and then she’s inviting musicians, artists, organizations, and businesses from around the area (or even world) to come perform, and HUG!

Hearing Meochia tell stories about when she’s out hugging people and how some go from very stand-offish to almost melting because of the love being shared, intrigues me and has me ready to give out hugs during ArtPrize 10.

My favorite story was about an elderly man who followed her around an event getting back into the hug line time and time again, finally  after the 4th hug, she asked him “you love the hugs? Tell me about yourself.”  That’s when he told her that his wife had died four years ago and that was the last time he had human touch, as in a hug or touch on the shoulder.  She of course hugged him one more time for good measure!

In our world, where it’s easier to be angry than to show compassion, the H.U.G. exhibit at city hall is much needed.  It really is that simple to help start a love movement; just showing some compassion and pure love such as in a HUG.

If you’re interested in getting involved or donating to the cause check out the link below.