America, Represent!

Uncle Sam could really use a facelift. Maybe a hip replacement. A haircut and a new suit wouldn't hurt, either. Come to think of it, the old boy should probably just hang up his star-spangled hat — he's more than 150 years old, for chrissakes — and consider getting out while the Social Security gettin' is still good.

But then, maybe that's too harsh. Uncle Sam and America just need a little break — it's not you, Unkie S., it's us — to try new things, meet new people, see what else is out there. The good folks over at the Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar — 404 South Upham Street in Lakewood — are big fans of ol' Sam, but they also think he deserves a little R&R, and they're curious about exploring American symbolism with their A New Mascot for America contest.

"We're not trying to replace Uncle Sam," promises Sarah Baie, the Lab's assistant creative director. "What we're hoping to do is explore the characterization of America — the social, political, economic, geographic, historical — while also thinking about what a mascot means as a character who has symbolic value and commercial potential."

Mascot submissions need a name and can be in any visual medium, as long as digital files don't exceed 10MB. Be humorous or reverential or both, but above all, be creative. The best will be featured at the Lab, in its Notebook and online. There's no deadline, but don't delay: America needs you. Call 303-934-1777 or go to www.belmarlab.org.
Starts: Nov. 22. Daily, 2006

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Drew Bixby