As a general rule, if you start spray-painting Riverfront Park, Riverfront Park gets mad at you. Fortunately, this time at least, everyone got permission.
The Inlander recruited Tom Pettoello, a Rogers High School art teacher, to commemorate 2020's high school graduates by spray-painting a logo in the Clock Tower Meadow in Riverfront Park.
The idea came from Inlander publisher Ted S. McGregor Jr., who served on the Spokane Park Board during the renovation of Riverfront Park. And so when Inlander graphic designer Ali Blackwood pitched Pettoello the idea, he readily agreed.
"I said sure," Pettoello says. "That be great and easy."
While the Inlander reimbursed Pettoello for the cost of the paint — and designed the logo itself — Pettoello volunteered his time and talent to paint the 30-foot-by-30-foot logo on the meadow.
By now, he's gotten pretty good at this sort of thing. This is hardly the first field Pettoello has painted. He's spent more than two decades professionally painting fields for everyone from Eastern Washington University to a field for the Babe Ruth World Series.
And so when the coronavirus cut short the senior year of high school students across the nation, Pettoello found a way to use his skills to commemorate what this class has been through.
"I had no idea it would get as big as it did," he says. "We’re going on to California to do logos. Seattle. Minnesota. New York."
He says he just has a knack for logos. He takes some measurements and starts painting.
All the names, however? That's more about stamina and grit: 12 hours of bending over and painting name after name and name. But it's worth it.
His favorite might be Moses Lake, where he painted all 638 names of the massive graduating class.
"Parents are always coming up and thanking us for what we're doing," he says. "So it feels good. It feels like I'm providing a service to the kids but also to their families as a way of recognizing this big moment in their lives.
Fortunately, he didn't have to paint the names of every graduating student in Spokane in the Clock Tower meadow. Instead, he selected a design from logos created by Inlander graphic designers Ali Blackwood and Rachael Skipper, and in a little more than two hours, created this crisp design:
Get a free poster of this design by picking up the upcoming June 4 issue of the Inlander.