The sixth version of the condom-package design contest -- a fund-raiser for the local Planned Parenthood chapter's Action Fund for political lobbying and voter education -- has an entry deadline of May 14. This year's theme is "Presidential Condoms -- When Politics Makes For Strange Bedfellows," and spokeswoman Jodi Hirsh sees fertile ground. Last year's competition received nearly 100 submissions from around the world, including Romania and England. The first entry for this year came in last week -- from Croatia. It's about "looking for a first lady ...," Hirsh reports.
Entries from outside America may have a tougher time finding the right double entendres for this year's theme, even though designs don't need to riff specifically on George W. Bush or John Kerry (or even on Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich). "The mission of the [Action] Fund is to get pro-choice people elected to office," Hirsh says, so condom package designs that play best with the American electorate should have an edge.
The contest will once again be open to all forms of submission, not just electronic submissions as in most years past. Judges include Three Rivers Arts Festival Director Elizabeth Reiss, Mattress Factory Director Barbara Luderowski, Pittsburgh Public Theater Artistic Director Ted Pappas, Concept Art Gallery owner Sam Berkovitz and Mendelson Gallery owner Steven Mendelson. All but Mendelson are new to the task. As always, the winning entry will be made into an actual condom package.
In the past -- especially with entries restricted to electronic forms -- graphic designers seemed to dominate the field, Hirsh says. This year she expects to see entries for a broader collection of art- (and condom-) minded people -- even some energized into action by the recent March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C.
Concludes Hirsh: "I don't know that there's any shortage of material to choose from."