Mount Baker Planned Parenthood is holding the second Under Wraps Competition, an art contest to find a condom matchbook cover, which will hold Planned Parenthood condoms. The goal of the event is to encourage safer sex practices and to provide funding for Planned Parenthood's programs.

“We believe this is a fun way to engage the creative community of Bellingham to help make the public choose protection for healthy sexuality,” Christina Wright, director of external affairs at Mount Baker Planned Parenthood, said.

According to Wright, the competition was first held in 2006, but they didn't have it in 2007. There were about 15 to 20 entries in 2006, Wright said.

“Since we did not hold the competition last year, we are having it early in 2008,” Wright said.

An auction will be held to raise money for the Planned Parenthood education programs at 7:00 p.m. on March 13, Wright said.

“All submitted pieces will be auctioned off after the community has an opportunity to view them. Later the entries will be judged by a group of local designers, artists and gallery owners for Bellingham and the winning design will be picked via a point system,” Wright said. “The winner will be announced later that night at the auction.”

According to the entry form, the winner will receive $300 cash prize and will be featured on over 5,000 condom matchbook covers that will be throughout Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties.

The Advocates Council, a group of young professionals in the community, is organizing the event. Christina Carr, public policy coordinator for Mount Baker Planned Parenthood, is working with them on coordinating the competition.

“We are in the process of identifying who will be the judges this year and we don't quite have set yet,” Carr said. “The council is in charge of organizing the event; they are busy with publicity work, an agenda, picking judges, posters and press releases.”

According to Carr, the auction will be held at Blue Horse Gallery at 301 West Holly St.

“There will be hors d'oeuvres and wine,” Carr said. “We also hope to have a few of the Roller Betties hosting the event. We really want to make this fun,”

So far approximately 30 people have requested entry forms and Carr believes that there will be a lot more entries this year because of wider publicity surrounding the competition.

The winning design in 2006 was submitted by Eric and Rebecca Shew of Shew Design. Their “Play Safe” design featured a man in a construction hat on the front of the condom design and a construction scene on the back.

“We enjoyed doing the competition; it was kind of a shot in the dark for us,” Eric Shew said. “We just played around with different headlines, we thought of it from an advertising point of view.”

This year, the Shew's will be judging instead of submitting designs.

“I help organize this event because it gives artists and community members a way to support Planned Parenthood in a fun and exciting way,” Carr said. “I think this is exciting because we are able to make supporting a non-profit organization fun.”

All individual artists, graphic design firms, designer or full-service agency are encouraged to submit a design, according to the 2008 entry form.

“The art can be turned in a variety of formats. If it is a graphic design, they tend to be large printouts [mounted to foam core or a matte board]. Fine art is also encouraged, and we will work with a print shop to photograph it for the cover,” Wright said. “We have also had paintings and wood etchings.”

All art is due by 4:30 p.m. on March 7 at the Mount Baker Planned Parenthood, 2300 James St., Suite 207.