Why did the rooster cross the road? To buy T-shirts, of course! The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau and Rhode Island Hospitality Association partnered with Frog & Toad, that PVD purveyor of “lighthearted non-perishables since 2014” to launch a limited run of exclusive Buy Local RI T-shirts with a portion of proceeds being donated to the Rhode Island Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. Three different designs were released one by one: The first featuring the original Buy Local RI brand design, while the next two showcase charming variations by local artists Maret Bondorew and Michael Ezzell, both of whom were given the parameters to contain a rooster/chicken and have a speech bubble saying Buy Local RI. Frog & Toad co-owner Asher Schofield says, “A campaign to support the hardworking small businesses here in Rhode Island all while raising money for the RI Hospitality Relief Fund is an honor to be a part of. So many folks in the hospitality industry have suffered this past year that it’s only right we do what we can to lend a hand. We’re Rhode Islanders. We look out for one another.” Each shirt is $22 and only available for purchase online. Free nationwide shipping on orders over $50. Curbside pickup is also available at Frog & Toad, located at 795 Hope Street, Providence.
The OG logo by Maeve Donohue reimagined in mauve on mauve. The campaign traces its roots to the Make it Happen RI summit in 2012 and was championed by the Rhode Island Foundation and then-Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts. Shirts and stickers were handed out at Buy Local RI Shop Hop events or by nominating a local business for the Golden Chicken Award (that might be fun to bring back, too!).
Artist, illustrator, and designer for Frog & Toad Press Maret Bondorew of “Knock It Off” fame designed the blue shirt. Asher Schofield shared that new-mom Bondorew worked on the project during nap times, and muses: “It’s possible that the rooster’s open beak and stance is expressing some internal frustration at a newborn not sleeping through the night yet.”
Michael Ezzell is an artist with a focus on print-making, painting, and illustration; he runs the FnT print shop and individually screen prints each of the three designs. Ezzell decided to take an approach that spoke to the traditions of American folk art and wanted to convey a sense of action and movement; the registration on the screen-printed colors is deliberately skewed.