Locals hug and mug for the love of St. Louis
Nothing says love like great big hug. That’s why a group called City Affair is asking locals to wrap their arms around their favorite person or institution in the St. Louis region, then mug for the camera to capture the moment.
Through 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, the second annual Grouphug St. Louis is accepting .jpg photos of St. Louis-area residents hugging the objects or subjects of their affection. The hug must be a “full-on embrace,” according to the rules, although some leeway is acceptable when accompanied by extra creativity.
The idea for Grouphug -- which has spread this year to Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh for a collaborative event called Rustbelt Hug -- came from urban planner Matthew Mourning during a meeting of City Affair, an organization dedicated to making St. Louis a better place to live.
Photos of people literally hugging city icons helps to spread the love, according to Mourning, who works for the city of St. Louis and lives in the Benton Park neighborhood.
“People get to see other people willing to be ridiculous for a moment and wrap their arms around a building or monument or a person who might not be expecting it, and it really expresses their love for the city,” Mourning said.
Most of 2011’s 150-plus entries poured in at the last minute. This year, early entries are again on the slow side, and Mourning and others of Grouphug are planning wider promotion through blogs and websites. Still, they’re confident St. Louisans will come through, even if means they have to troll places like parks and The Loop for people willing to pose, as they did last year.
“Last year, we cobbled it together in two and a half weeks, and none of us expected such a positive result,” Mourning said. “It’s a real affirmation of all St. Louis’ assets.”
Digital manipulation of images is allowed. More than one person in a photo is OK as are multiple submissions. First prize is $100, second is a $50 gift card to Cherokee Street's STL-STyLE, and organizers say a third prize is likely, along with a variety of trinkets for other participants. Photos will be displayed at a Saturday, May 26 event in Old North St. Louis’s Crown Center, 2700 N. 14th St. from 7-10 p.m., complete with food trucks and beer.
A full list of submission guidelines can be found on the Grouphug website.
Watch a YouTube video of 2011 Grouphug entries.