Local Art Adorns The Henderson

January 4, 2017 by Audrey Johnson

The Henderson in all its beauty embodies a very specific sense of place. The new resort borders Henderson Beach State Park, a 208-acre nature preserve with ancient white dunes and evergreen scrub along a deep blue horizon. A scene many artists have tried to replicate, with only a few succeeding.

Nature is the inspiration behind The Henderson, and the artwork within its walls is a direct reflection of the surrounding park. In all, The Henderson commissioned over 465 pieces of local art depicting life at the beach. But it wasn’t just a shopping spree. The Henderson Artist Project is a carefully curated collection representing the most influential painters, makers and artisans along our coast.

Thirteen local artists were chosen to create custom pieces, specifically for The Henderson. The project was documented and shared via their website and YouTube. Likewise, each of the rooms at The Henderson holds a book containing info on the art and where you can find the artist should you like to collect their work.

Justin Gaffrey’s peaceful dune lake scenes line the private dining room walls at Primrose Restaurant, while primrose flowers sculpted with paint line the entrance. Mary Hong incorporated the beachy color palette into her recycled glass mosaics that adorn spa walls. And Lori Drew captured the feeling of peace that overcomes you at the edge of the water in her paintings. But it was the architect who thoughtfully placed a window in the fourth-floor hallway at The Henderson that reveals the greatest artist, the one who inspires us all: Mother Nature.

Vintage photos from the collection of Tony Mennillo line the hallway to the living room. Tony’s father, Arturo, was a prolific photojournalist who left behind a legacy of negatives that captured life on the Emerald Cost between the 1940’s-1960’s. Other works appeared in Life, Time, and Newsweek magazines.

Donnie Galli handcrafted the wooden table in the living room lobby where Melody Bogle’s oil paintings also bring life to the walls. Jeff Waldorff’s photographs of sunsets the beach are on display in the spa and bathrooms. Velia Lala’s glitzy pours add a clean sophisticated look to the spa, where Russ Gilbert’s awe inspiring glass blown sculpture of a wave takes center stage. John Maher’s colorful work can be found in the kid’s zone and fitness center.  

Oil painting landscapes by Barbara Flowers, Joanne Walker and Melissa Mercer Brown grace the boardrooms and ballrooms at The Henderson, in which Sinfonia Gulf Coast will host their annual gala this May. The Temptations Revue featuring Reggie Reed and members of Sinfonia take the stage for a glamorous evening, promoting the arts in our community one note at a time.

Our artists reflect the character of our community. Vintage photos of sunbathing beauties and hardworking fisherman. Sunsets at the beach. Fish swimming freely. Unspoiled dunes. Rare coastal lakes. A couple holding hands. A gentle wave. The best things in life. That’s what our community represents. That’s what our artists create. And that’s what The Henderson embodies.

The Henderson, a Salamander Beach Resort & Spa, is located steps from Henderson Beach State Park in The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village, Destin, FL. The 170-room hotel features spacious, coastal-inspired guest rooms and suites with sweeping balconies or terraces, a fine dining Primrose restaurant, a beautiful Salamander Spa, two swimming pools, and a host of family-friendly recreational programs and activities. Learn more about one of the finest luxury resorts to open along Florida’s Gulf Coast in a generation at For reservations, please call 855.741.2777, and for all other questions, including wedding planning, please call 800 521.6735. Follow The Henderson on Facebook and Instagram @thehendersonfl for the latest updates.


Audrey Johnson's picture

Upon realizing that life is too short not to follow her dreams, Audrey moved to the beach and became a writer. SoWal’s pristine beaches inspire her to explore further, look deeper, and do better.

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