Alden Suites Beachfront Resort Celebrates 50 Years with a New Mural Painted by Pinellas County Students

Here at the Alden, we love to support the arts, and our Director of Community Relations, Mary Ann Renfrow, came up with an exciting idea to celebrate the Alden’s 50th anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family. She connected with Brian McAllister, a talented muralist who leads a group of students from the Gibbs High School Mural Club. The newly renovated Alden Suites bungalows provided a perfect canvas for a new art piece to celebrate the past, present and future of the Alden.

This 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. Brian was excited for the opportunity to brighten up our historic resort on St. Pete Beach.

The process began in January of this year, as Brian met with the Alden team onsite to discuss designs and make plans. The team decided on a vintage postcard design celebrating the early years of the Alden and decided to paint the mural on the side of one of the Alden bungalows that faces the central pool area.

Mary Ann Renfrow chose some special elements to honor longtime guests of Alden Suites, including a painting of Cayanne, a sweet dog who lit up 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 in a palm tree, in homage to the Snelson family who won the #ALDENWOW50 photo contest this year.

Once the design was finalized, Brian drew the outlines on the side of the building. Then the students got to work, filling in large blocks of color first, then adding in details. The process of painting the mural took several weeks, and Alden guests were delighted to watch the progress, both in person at the resort and online through social media.

Sue Castleman, PreK-12 Visual Arts Specialist at Pinellas County Schools says: “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. It’s interesting that it’s young children, our students that are painting this mural that represents 50 years for the Alden. It helps them in their experience as a working artist, to see what artists have to do, and helps them learn about how to look at something and represent it historically.”

On April 5, 2019, local St. Pete Beach dignitaries gathered with students, parents and the Alden Suites team to celebrate the unveiling of the new mural. The students were so proud to share the beautiful result of their weeks of hard work, and the Alden shared it in a Facebook live stream with thousands of viewers from across the nation. 

Al Johnson, Mayor of St. Pete Beach, says it best: “The Alden is part of St. Pete Beach and that mural fits. It’s perfect for the Alden, it’s perfect for the area, it’s perfect for the city. It’s absolutely wonderful.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *