Muti House for Performing Arts
Ashley Hall Opens New Performing Arts Building Dedicated to Head of School Jill Muti
Ashley Hall’s urban campus grew by 5,500 square feet on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, with the opening of the Muti House for Performing Arts at 159 Rutledge Avenue. Dedicated to Head of School Jill Muti at the end of her 18-year tenure, the historic building will house rehearsal and performance space for the school’s seventh through twelfth grade strings, choral, piano, dance, and theater programs.
The building boasts three fully renovated floors highlighting its historic charm, including original brick fireplaces, reclaimed heart-of-pine floors, and exposed beam ceilings. As envisioned now by leaders of the performing arts department, the ground floor will be used for dance and theater rehearsals, as well as yoga classes. The first floor, which is outfitted with a new Yamaha grand piano, will be used as a rehearsal and performance space for Nautilus and Upper School choirs. Lastly, the second floor will be customized to serve the school’s strings program.
“Ashley Hall has always had to be really realistic about where our school sits,” Muti says. “What I’ve had the most fun thinking about during my time here is how we live and lead in community in this urban center. When the building became available, we thought, ‘What are the greatest areas of need?’”
Administrators looked at many different uses for 159 Rutledge Avenue. Ultimately, they decided the space would be best suited for performing arts for a variety of reasons. Acoustically, the space needs very little, explains Muti who has taught instrumental and choral music to lower, middle, and upper school divisions throughout her career. Furthermore, the open floor plan on the second floor is conducive to incorporating state-of-the-art systems that will create multiple spaces for the strings program to utilize, including areas for private violin and cello lessons, storage, as well as a chamber studio for performances.
“The opening of this space at 159 Rutledge Avenue will allow for continued growth of our performing arts programming, not just for our students and faculty, but for the larger Charleston community,” says incoming Head of School Dr. Anne Weston ’73. “In the years to come, because of the vision and leadership of Jill and our Board, 159 Rutledge will be alive with singers, dancers, and musicians of all sorts.”