Art show bringing new activity to historic Central Gardens landmark

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An iconic Memphis landmark has new life after years of being closed.

Ashlar Hall — the building that looks like a castle in Central Gardens — is opening again, with a unique show.

Julia Hinson with Lost in Found Productions is producing an elaborate art show that moves through several rooms in the house, filled with different kinds of art and decor. There'll be live music, as well as a ballet that moves through the house.

"The idea is that you get to choose your own adventure once you enter the house," Hinson said. "So, you can follow the dance as it moves or you can just sit in a room that looks like the woods kind of."

Hinson says Ashlar Hall is the perfect venue.

"It's such a beautiful building and has such an interesting past."

It was built as a home in 1896 and converted to a restaurant by the Grisanti family in the 1960s.

But most people will remember it as a nightclub in the '90s, run by Prince Mongo, an eccentric man who claims to be from the planet Zambodia.

"When we first came in there was graffiti on the walls, holes in the floor, leftover relics of a nightclub past," Hinson said.

Those issues are being fixed by real estate investor Juan Montoya, who's been renovating the building for more than a year.

The show is called Rites of Spring at Ashlar Hall — a symbol of new beginnings.

"So the idea is that spring has sprung on this building that's kind of getting rebirthed back into the community," Hinson said. "I'm especially interested in the people around here in Central Gardens being able to take pride in this house again. Not like something that's sort of crumbling in the corner."

The show will run April 5-7 and April 11-14. Tickets will be $30. Click here for more information.

Hinson is also thinking about a Halloween-themed event this coming fall.

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