Local Current Blog

All shook up: Graceland to cede Paisley Park management to Prince estate

Paisley Park (Jay Gabler/MPR)

Jon Bream at the Star Tribune has already used the obvious line, albeit a week prematurely: Elvis has left the building. Graceland Holdings’ unprecedented agreement to manage Paisley Park as a museum will come to an end this Sunday, Oct. 1, with Prince’s estate taking over.

Publicly, at least, there are no hard feelings between Graceland and the estate. Graceland’s Joel Weinshanker tells the Star Tribune “it was always the intent for the family to take over,” and Prince’s sister Sharon Nelson confirmed the split was amicable. Day-to-day operations at Paisley Park should continue largely as normal, with key staffers Trevor Guy and Kirk Johnson, both of whom worked closely with Prince during his lifetime, continuing in their oversight roles.

While Paisley Park’s opening as a museum in fall 2016, less than five months after Prince’s death, hit some speed bumps — the Chanhassen City Council pumping the brakes on a rezoning proposal, and initial tours that were a little rocky — the museum has now settled into a stable and profitable rhythm. Annual Celebration events have been well-received by fans, and special events include an upcoming performance by Nooky Jones as the first conventionally ticketed concert to be held at the studio in the post-Prince era.

Paisley Park was the first venue not associated with Elvis Presley that Graceland ever agreed to manage, despite frequently being approached by other artists’ estates. The end of that relationship will streamline the management of Prince’s legacy, still under the control of Comerica as Prince’s siblings sort out their differences.