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The Sanctuary is a former Christian Church built by the Free Masons in 1895. In the 1940's, the rear portion of the church was destroyed in a fire and subsequently rebuilt. As a surviving example of the wonderful architecture in Newport from that period, it is considered a local landmark and is listed in Kentucky's historic registry.


In 2005, two local musicians, Ashley and Annette Shepherd, purchased the church to house Ashley's professional audio recording studio. The couple first renovated the back of the church, formerly the rectory and Sunday school area, converting it into 2 spacious luxury apartments with modern appointments. They then set about renovating the lower level for the recording studio. With the help of fellow musician and designer, Andrea DeGolier of Heliotrope Design, they transformed the basement into an urban underground space that is at once organic and warm, and swanky cool. The top flight recording studio, Audiogrotto, opened in 2009.

All renovations were performed in accordance with the National Park Service guidelines for historic preservation and garnered the Excellence in Preservation Award from the City of Newport. Eco-friendly repurposing of materials endeavored to preserve the ambiance and historical perspective of the original building. All of the original doors and windows were returned to full use, while wood from the oak pews was used for trim and custom furniture in the studio.

In 2010, the Shepherds began operating The Sanctuary as a nondenominational wedding chapel and event space in the large main hall of the building. With its original lofted ceiling and spectacular stained glass windows, it retains the grandeur and beauty of the turn-of-the-century. The atmosphere of the historic space can infuse any event, from formal to casual, with its cool elegance. Since opening, The Sanctuary has been host to a wide array of events – artistic, social and corporate - that have been inspired by its unique and historic setting. In particular, the radio station Q102 has utilized the space for live performances by visiting national recording artists such as Adam Lambert, Ingrid Michaelson, and Orianthi. Many people who have attended events in The Sanctuary have commented on what a great vibe the space has and how it made the event feel much more special than one held in a generic banquet hall.

Please consider The Sanctuary for your next event, be it wedding ceremony, reception, commitment ceremony, party, off-site corporate meeting, fundraiser, or artistic performance. Experience cutting edge design set within historic surroundings for your special occasion.