For many years, a large mural by acclaimed local artist Paul Arsenault has delighted members and guests of the Naples Yacht Club with its depictions and tales of the town when it was just a small fishing village.
So when the Naples Yacht Club launched its recent $10-million renovation, it was agreed that the mural would become a centerpiece of the interior design of the new club. And rather than keep the mural all in one piece, it was divided into three sections, each gracing a wall in a prominent venue of the club.
“This historical mural was commissioned by one of our founding families many years ago and has always been an important feature ofcour Club,” said Mike Mooney, General Manager for Naples Yacht Club. “We decided to relocate the mural to various locations within the new clubhouse so that no matter where you are within the new clubhouse, you will have a view of one of the wonderful scenes in the mural.”
The largest section of the mural is now hung in the club’s main ballroom and depicts the former Gordon Fish Camp located at the south end of Gordon Drive at Gordon Pass. This property served a variety of purposes, including dance hall in the early teens, campground/marina for boaters and fishermen, and as a base camp for commando training for the failed Bay of Pigs military invasion of Cuba.
This part of the mural also features the “hidden panther” that encourages young children to seek it out in the brush. Another section of the mural graces the private Founders Room which can accommodate groups of up to 20 people.
It is here that members learn about historic vessels like the “Mermaid of Carriacou” built in the Grenadines as a cargo cutter/yacht. The mural also shows an old building just southwest of the Naples City Dock that was originally built as a covered boat house and later transformed into a home.
In the new hallway where members and guests enter for large club events and private functions is a third section of the mural. It depicts the “Dauphine” sailing out via Gordon Pass. This friendship sloop belonged to Cottie Morse, whose father established the former Boat Haven dealership in Naples.
Off in the distance are three sailboats racing in a typical weekend scene between Naples and Marco Island.
A new mural was just recently added to this section by Arsenault depicting the historic Keewaydin Club at the north end of Keewaydin Island. The club was the main attraction on the barrier island just south of Naples and was owned by the family of Lavern Gaynor, who oversaw the painting of this last piece.
A native of Montreal, Arsenault grew up in Massachusetts where his love for the sea and travel emerged. Following graduation from The Art Institute of Boston in 1973, he began a six-month stint as deckhand on a research vessel.
Arsenault signed off in Florida the next year, and began his professional painting career.
With Naples as his base, Arsenault has embarked on painting trips throughout the world. His vibrant and widely collected paintings reflect a rhythm and pattern that distinguish his easily recognizable style. His lifelong pursuit to paint contemporary life in coastal communities like Naples is enhanced by his passion for history and his natural storytelling ability.
The Naples Yacht Club is the first and oldest private club in Naples. Located at the south end of 14th Avenue South in the Aqualane Shores section of Naples, the Naples Yacht Club was established in 1947 by three friends – Stephen Briggs, Benny Morris and John Glen Sample.
Today, the Club has more than 550 members and ranks sixth among the Top Yacht Clubs in America, according to Platinum Clubs of America.
The club’s extensive renovation was completed earlier this year. The restoration completely updated the clubhouse which was originally built on the site in 1960. The enhancements maximized views of Naples Bay and offer members expanded opportunities to enjoy outdoor dining and cocktails. The improvements also will enable the club to accommodate larger groups for private functions and member-hosted events.