In the wake of Prince’s death last April 21, fans from around the world made their way to Paisley Park to pay their respects — in many cases, with notes and memorials they affixed to the fence surrounding Prince’s Chanhassen studio. Paisley Park collected those items and brought them into its permanent collection, and when the venue reopened last year as a museum, a display featured many of those items in a tribute to the fans’ outpouring of love for the late music icon.
Now, Paisley Park has erected a new, temporary memorial fence just outside the venue’s front doors. The new fence is part of the museum’s activities paying tribute to Prince as the one-year anniversary of his death approaches, culminating in the four-day Celebration 2017 from April 20-23.
The new fence — officially called the Prince4Ever Tribute Fence — runs the length of the parking lot and is serves a purely ceremonial function. Staff have selected some of the items originally left at Paisley Park’s fence last year to attach to the new fence, and fans will be able to leave their own tributes throughout the month of April.
An important detail: for two days and two days only, the fence will be free and open to the public. Those days are today, April 3; and next Monday, April 10. On those two days, fans will be able to visit Paisley Park between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., to see the fence and leave tributes if they choose. They can also pose with their tributes in a photo booth just inside Paisley Park’s doors. The photos will later be available via Paisley Park’s Facebook page, and may be featured in materials relating to Celebration 2017.
At other times, the fence will be available only to those who hold tickets to Paisley Park tours. The fence will remain in place at least through Celebration 2017, say venue staff. I shared a video of the fence and the venue grounds when I visited this morning; check it out on The Current’s Facebook page.
In other Paisley Park news, a room dedicated to the Lovesexy period is now open and can be seen by those who take Paisley Park tours. “This is a room that Prince always envisioned being part of a Paisley Park museum,” said Mitch Maguire, a spokesperson for the venue. “He actually did have conversations with those close to him about making that exact space what it is now. In fact, a lot of the things you see in there were actually picked out by Prince ahead of time.”
Maguire said the new Lovesexy Room, just off the atrium, includes wardrobe and videos from the Lovesexy Tour, as well as a Model C guitar made by Jerry Auerswald — the German luthier who also designed Prince’s Love Symbol guitars. The Lovesexy Room joins other themed rooms, including spaces dedicated to Purple Rain, Sign o’ the Times, Diamonds and Pearls, and the Graffiti Bridge and Under the Cherry Moon movies.
The venue is planning to expand its hours for the summer, and additional staff are currently being hired. Anyone interested in donning a purple tunic and joining the Paisley Park staff can find details at the venue’s website.