Event Rental 

Book your event in our beautiful historic building, one block from the Downtown Mall.  We have hosted many different types of successful events, both large and intimate, from weddings and rehearsal dinners to corporate meetings, non-profit events, and parties. We have a variety of different sized spaces to rent and a beautiful front lawn, and can work with you to determine the best spaces for your needs.  You and your guests will be surrounded by locally created fine art, which can generate conversations and connections between your guests, plus your rental fee helps to support a vibrant, diverse artistic community. 

Contact us at MAC@mcguffeyartcenter.com for more information and a personal tour. And just so you know, as a working arts center, the needs of our member artists are always a priority. While we can close the building to the public for your event, we always allow our 47 members access to their studios to create art or hold classes. This is part of the magic!



Am I renting the whole building? 

You can rent all or part of the public spaces of this large former school, but you may not rent artists’ studio spaces.   The interior public spaces include the Upstairs Hall gallery, the Downstairs Hall Gallery, the Sara B. Smith Gallery, and the Starnes Classroom. The outside rentable public space is the large front lawn.


Can I rent just a portion of the public spaces of building?

Definitely. Partial rentals may be negotiated depending on the specific needs of your event. We are happy to discuss options. Often, we find people like to rent the Downstairs Hall Gallery and the Sara B. Smith Gallery together.

How much does it cost to rent McGuffey Art Center and what do I receive?

Because you can combine spaces, the rental fee is determined by your needs.  It usually starts at $900 and includes an on-site liaison. Your caterer will be able to use our Starnes Classroom for their work if you are renting other spaces.  If you would like the rent the Starnes Classroom alone for your meeting or small event (the classroom still has the original chalkboards!) the fee is $65 per hour. A Rental Team member will also be in touch with you during the weeks and days prior to your event to ensure your needs are met and questions answered.
The Liaison will be in attendance during your event from the time the building is closed to the public until one hour past the scheduled end of your event.  As your event proceeds, the Liaison will represent McGuffey Art Center, perhaps make art sales, assist your group in all problem-solving, and oversee the final clean-up by your caterers and crew.

What is the rental cost for non-profit organizations?

Non-profits and local artists are eligible for a discounted rental fee.  All above-mentioned services are included. 

Do I need to hire a specific caterer?

No, McGuffey will work with any caterer.  We have had great experiences with A Pimento, Harvest Moon and C&O. There are many other local caterers that have done successful events at McGuffey. The caterers usually set up and dress the tables for events.  At the end of your event, the caterers or your crew must break down and store the tables, remove their equipment and supplies, sweep and mop the floors, and empty all trash.

Does McGuffey have a kitchen?

No. We have had caterers on occasion bring outdoor grills or a portable oven.  The Starnes classroom has a sink and an elevator directly from McGuffey’s private parking lot for easy delivery. We can also host food trucks outside.

May I use the tables and chairs in the Starnes Classroom?

McGuffey has six white plastic folding tables (36” x 84”) and two heavy Formica tables (36” x 84”) which you may use.  Some of these will likely be used by your caterer to prep the food in the classroom.  
You may rent nice tables and chairs along with tablecloths, glasses, dishes, coatracks, etc., from a rental company such as Festive Fare. 
McGuffey has 50 metal folding chairs stored in the Starnes Classroom which you may use and must be returned to the Starnes Classroom after your event.

How much parking is available?

There is a small lot behind McGuffey with 27 spaces.  We can reserve spaces for special guests and caterers.

What is the maximum capacity for the McGuffey rental space?

Maximum capacity is 500 people for all the public spaces of the building, although we suggest a lesser number (150-200) for sit-down meals.  We can do partial rentals for smaller groups.

Do I need a liquor license?

YES, if your event is broadly advertised and open to the public (i.e., an auction).
NO, if it is private party with invitations, closed to the public.  
If you have questions about this policy, feel free to contact the Virginia Department of ABC.

How late in the evening can my event last?

The building closes at Midnight, and the rental event must end and clean up must be finished by that time. However, if you have amplified music, the music must end by 11PM. 

 What are the reservation requirements?  How soon is my date confirmed?

During a tour of the building, if you are very interested in a date, we will pencil in your name on the master calendar. The date is not confirmed until you pay a non-refundable $500 deposit.

What kinds of events have been held at McGuffey?

We have hosted just about everything, including a memorial service. We have had many wedding receptions and some wedding ceremonies, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, nonprofit events, auctions, birthday parties, engagement parties, and more.  
We are artists willing to try many types of events.  Our goal is to share our wonderful building and the artwork on display with the public and help our guests have worry-free events that they will remember forever.

May I schedule a time to look at the space?

We love to give personal tours and request that you email MAC@mcguffeyartcenter.com.  A member of the rental team will contact you to discuss your event and to schedule a tour of the facility.  Feel free to call us at 434-295-7973 as well.