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Local love

The Wayfinder is a passion project for Newport natives with a homegrown brand identity and over 1,000 pieces of artwork from emerging Rhode Island Artists. Meet the crew of artists, designers, and entrepreneurs who are proud to call Newport, RI home. 

Thank you for naming us Best Staycation in the Best of RI Awards - if you want to see what all the fuss is about, check out our local offer, Love for 401 - Learn More.

Phil Hospod, Hotelier

Why I Love Newport

I’ve fallen in love with Rhode Island. I got married in Bristol and have been spending summers sailing Narragansett Bay, picnicking at Newport Polo matches, building sand castles at 2nd and 3rd beach, and sipping Del’s Lemonade wherever possible. Simply, Rhode Island is magic. And the undisputed gateway to the splendor is Newport, the City by the Sea.

But it is Rhode Islanders themselves who inspire me. I feel really lucky to work with such a creative, scrappy, and genuinely good group of people. They have made the creation of The Wayfinder Hotel fun, engaging, and ultimately very satisfying. I’m excited to share all of our hard work with Newport and our visitors from all over the world.

- Phil Hospod

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Jenn Shore, Artist & Design Director

Why I Love Newport

I like to think that Newport offers two lifestyles; one on land, and one on water. I grew up on the water, which gave me a perspective that I will forever be thankful for and inspired by.

Very early on I wanted to focus on the local lens as a source of inspiration. We derived the color palette from the colors that are most prevalent here in the off-season, as a nod to this coveted down time for those that live here year-round. There’s a magic to this place that I wanted to highlight, which meant showcasing what is here naturally.

- Jenn Shore

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Catherine Druken, Artist & Photographer

Why I Love Newport

I really value the variety of surroundings that can be experienced in Newport. From my doorstep I can enter the bustle of Broadway, wander through narrow back roads and end up at a quiet (or raging) body of water all in under 30 minutes. I observe so much on foot that I might not have noticed in a car or even on a bike. These observations feel like little treasures, and the mental shift they allot for me are everything. I have come up with some of my favorite concepts during these walks.

- Catherine Druken

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Jenny Brown, Artist

Why I Love Newport

Both the rich history and abundant natural beauty of Newport inspired my works for the Wayfinder. As antiquing and collecting paper ephemera have always been at the heart of my creative practice, I began by thrifting old postcards of Newport for this collaboration. I then embellished the cards with lush paper florals as a way to both honor and give new life to the old stories of this beautiful corner of Rhode Island.

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Liz Kelley, Artist & Curator

Why I Love Newport

My inspiration in the body of work I created for the Wayfinder grew from their baseline vision of being relaxed, happy and carefree. I imagined what a day in sunny Newport would look and feel like - salty breezes, ice cream, and losing sense of time at the beach. All of the perks that come with having the chance to unwind in this gem of a town.

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Jake & Steph Kopper, Shore Soap

Why I Love Newport

Rhode Island's coastal ambiance and a shared passion for the sea helped ignite the vision behind Shore Soap Co. We channeled our inspiration into quality products that embody both nature and simplicity. Everything, from the artwork and fragrance names to the ingredients we use, is influenced by the sea.

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Sean Spellman, Artist

Why I Love Newport

As a Rhode Island native, western transplant and American traveler, I’ve crossed the country more than two dozen times documenting my journey in paintings, drawings, photographs and song. These "interpretations" serve as self-proclaimed personal inspiration to "keep moving" and as conceptual documents of the many places a person might dream of calling home.

- Sean Spellman

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Mea Duke, Artist

Why I Love Newport

Born and raised in Rhode Island, I grew up around art, thanks largely to my grandfather who was a gallery owner. My work for the Wayfinder focuses on water as a deeply substantial part of our collective histories and modern existence.

- Mea Duke

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Phil Easton, Artist

Why I Love Newport

Newport will always be a part of my core. Its miles of waterfront have always been a great place to escape, allowing me to find peace and serenity. I also value the neighborhood I was raised in. I truly appreciate growing up in the Fifth Ward; that community offered great friends and families as well as a peaceful environment for kids to run around and be kids. 

There is no denying Newport is a special place to live. I am honored that my family was one of the original families to settle here. The deep history of the hard working/creative men and women that helped establish this place is something to be proud of, especially those from my Irish heritage. It's safe to say that I cherish the heart and soul of Newport and those characteristics that make it unique. 

- Phil Easton

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Amy Nuytkens, Artist

Why I Love Newport

I love Newport for its beautiful coastline and beaches, its cool Colonial and Gilded Age history, architecture, restaurants and art scene. I grew up as a sand flea at Second Beach and love to surf and climb on the rocks around Ocean Drive. I run the Cliff Walk almost daily in the summertime. I feel lucky to get endless inspiration from this beautiful island that I call home. I paint boards, make art and enjoy nature's gifts with the people I love right here. Newport has it all! 

- Amy Nuytkens

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Ry Smith, Artist

Why I Love Newport

I love Newport because it's funky, spunky, salty, soggy, slimy, old-timey and always one step ahead of me. 

- Ry Smith

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Rian McCarthy, Artist

Why I Love Newport

I was born and raised here. The sense of community in Newport is unlike anywhere else I've lived. That and the beauty of the summer here make it impossible for me to leave the City by the Sea.

- Rian McCarthy

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