April 9, 2019
Students in the Pinellas County Center for the Arts painted a beautiful mural at the historic resort in St. Pete Beach.
The Alden Suites’ Director of Community Relations Mary Ann Renfrow came up with the idea to celebrate the Alden’s 50th anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family. She connected with Brian McAllister, a muralist who leads a group of students from the Gibbs High School Mural Club. The club is a community outreach mural program designed to provide local businesses with quality murals while showing students how to have a positive impact through art.
In January, McAllister met with the Alden team to discuss design options and make plans. The team decided on a vintage postcard design, celebrating the early years of the Alden. The mural would be painted on the side of one of the Alden bungalows that faces the central pool area.
The design features Cayanne, a dog that graced the Alden for over 15 years of visits with the Green family from St. Louis. The artists also included an image of a boy hanging from a palm tree, in homage to the Snelson family who won the #ALDENWOW50 photo contest this year.
Once the design was finalized, McCallister sketched the outlines on the side of the building. The students spent several weeks painting the mural and adding details.
“I think the mural really represents what the Alden was looking for to celebrate their anniversary, and what’s really special is that we’ve involved our students from Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School," said Sue Castleman, PreK-12 Visual Arts Specialist at Pinellas County Schools. The project helps the students to gain experience as working artists and explore historic elements of their subjects, she said.
On April 5, local tourism dignitaries gathered with students, parents and the Alden Suites team to celebrate the unveiling of the new mural. See the evolution of the project.