Our 35th Anniversary Cover Contest Results Are In!

After nearly 1,000 votes, you helped us determine our top five covers from the past three decades.


In case you hadn’t heard, Rhode Island Monthly’s is celebrating thirty-five years in operation this year, and we decided what better way to celebrate than with a (printed) highlight reel. The editorial team had a blast revisiting and compiling the local icons, shenanigans, colorful characters and fabulous attractions we’ve covered over the last three decades for our March issue, and we are excited for our readers to take the trip down memory lane with us (Psst.. the issue is on newsstands now — here’s where you can find a copy).

During said search, though, we also came across a great deal of iconic covers and there was much discussion amongst the staff as to which were our favorites. Many of us were partial (myself included) to the May/June 2020 cover featuring the hope-in-the-face-of-the-pandemic-inspired artwork by RISD graduate turned artist and activist Shepard Fairey.

C1 Shepard Fairey Cover May June Issue.indd

May/June 2020.

“It was very timely and fitting, acknowledging the sacrifices of our healthcare workers in Rhode Island,” says Kieran Keating, Rhode Island Monthly’s associate publisher. “And it was our first issue/cover since COVID shut everything down. We also got approval from the artist to use it as a pull out poster in the same issue (a first), because there were no printed versions of the art available.”

Other staff, meanwhile, were drawn to various covers for different reasons. For example, senior editor Dana Laverty couldn’t resist the charm of coffee milk, but what born and bred Rhode Islander can?

Cover 11.15.indd

November 2015.

Our president and publisher, John Palumbo, on the other hand, chose based on nostalgia.

“Ben Mondor, along with Mike Tamburro and Lou Scwechheimer and the PawSox were a huge part of my life — personally and professionally,” he says of his pick. “That cover shot was used for his bronze in memoriam statue that stood at McCoy until the end.”

Aug 2001

August 2001.

And so, with no clear consensus, we thought to turn to you, our readers. We always ask you to tell us what is the best of the best in Rhode Island (shameless plug: Best of Rhode Island voting starts one month from today!), so why should this be any different? Our cover contest ran for one month and after nearly 1,000 votes, you helped us whittle down the top covers down to five — with just one vote separating first from second place. Here are the final results.



First Place:

August 1990 — 48 Hours in Rhode Island!

1990 August

If there’s one thing most Rhode Islanders can agree on, it’s that the Ocean State is home to many beautiful sites, both natural and manmade.

Second Place

May/June 2020 — Shepard Fairey Mural 

C1 Shepard Fairey Cover May June Issue.indd

As already stated, this cover will forever remain a top choice not just because of the stunning image, but also because of the time period it represents. We were proud to be able to deliver this message of hope when everything seemed so uncertain.


Third Place

March 2000 — Let’s Eat: Rhode Island Chefs Reveal Their Favorite Restaurants  

2000 Mar

We have a feeling the handlebar mustache had a part to play in this decision, but it’s also great to see that Rhode Islanders are interested in where local chefs like to dine out, especially considering we just put out a similar cover feature in February.

Fourth Place

October 1995 — It’s a Wonderful Life / Doug White

1995 Oct


Listen, we get it. Between an apron-clad Doug White and grilled kabobs, what’s not to love here?


Fifth Place

September 1994 — Jackie’s Newport

1994 Sept

A classic photo of a classy lady. This just may be one of the stories we will have to dig up and post in full as part of our ongoing From the Archives online series. Stay tuned!