When hosting an event— be it a corporate gathering, meeting or fundraiser— the more interesting the venue, the easier it can be to attract people to attend. Art galleries are therefore the perfect home for events. These stunning venues make the perfect canvas for any special event, as they offer interesting art that is bound to get opinions and conversations flowing.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have a thriving arts scene and there are plenty of galleries available for rentals.
SOMETHING UNIQUE IN NY
The 287 Gallery, located in the heart of Chelsea’s Fine Arts District, is not a traditional gallery that houses long-term exhibitions; rather it flips the space on a weekly or even daily basis for different activations, so there is always something new.
“Though we are primarily a ‘blank canvas,’ our distressed, exposed brick walls give us that industrial chic vibe that makes us stand out from other gallery spaces,” says Amanda Baudier, director of special events. “Our venue is just over 1,200 square feet of open space with a 500-square-foot private backyard with amazing views of the High Line. Featuring built-in A/V, a catering kitchen and storage area in the basement, as well as a fully customizable storefront on street level, our venue is just begging to be customized for art shows and branded events.”
The gallery regularly attracts standard art exhibitions, retail pop-ups, charity events and product launches. Baudier notes when companies book 287 Gallery, they have the ability to control every detail and curate something wholly unique to their vision and brand messaging.
“Because we also offer full-service event planning and catering services, we tend to be a little easier to work with than other raw spaces,” Baudier says. “You don’t have to be a designer or even a professional event planner to make something happen at 287 Gallery. We will hold your hand through the entire process if you need us to, or leave you alone and let you run the show if you just want a raw space.”
A CHARITABLE CAUSE
Kevin O’Hanlon, owner and director of Rogue Space Chelsea in Manhattan, says the unique space has hosted thousands of very diverse international exhibitions and presentations over the last decade, and event rentals go to a very worthy cause.
“Events at Rogue Space support art programs and building schools for children in need around the world,” he says. “So far, I have completed projects and supported the building of school and art programs in Haiti, Afghanistan, Syria, Congo, New York, Palestine, Nepal, Madagascar, and upcoming in Bangladesh and Yemen.”
Located in Chelsea’s energized art district, the event space currently features both 950- and 1,850-square-foot options, and offers 12-foot ceilings, natural light and lobby-level access to the High Line Park.
O’Hanlon has expanded the gallery with an additional 1,000 square feet. This was done, he says, to celebrate the successful completion of 10 projects with children living in conflict zones or in natural disaster areas around the world.
CHECK OUT CONNECTICUT
Imagine an event amidst spectacular, oneof-a-kind artworks by some of Connecticut’s finest professional artists. These three galleries all have something special to offer.
Nestled in picturesque Westport, the Westport Arts Center’s 1,000-square-foot contemporary gallery is available for private, nonprofit and corporate rentals.
“Our venue offers a unique environment for special events including business meetings, fundraisers, educational workshops, as well as many other kinds of celebrations and gatherings,” says Leslie LaSala, director of marketing. “Large picture windows allow for beautiful natural light and excellent riverside views. Interesting art inspires all types of conversation. Attendees can mingle while sipping wine and sampling hors d’oeuvres or sit down for a more formal event or presentation.”
The WAC is known for presenting exhibitions and gallery programs that create both international and regional appeal; are compelling, topical and engaging; and that are thought-provoking and inspire change.
Those who rent out the gallery, with room for 100 seated or 200 standing, will have access to an outdoor deck overlooking the Saugatuck River, 6-foot plastic banquet tables with folding legs, 93 folding chairs and eight nonfolding chairs, plus Modern Le Corbusier Cassina leather lounge furniture. Also available is a galley kitchen and a separate space for caterer set-up is available as well.
Located on the banks of the Mystic River, Mystic Museum of Art is in the heart of historic Downtown Mystic and offers a waterfront view from its terraces and grounds.
The Mystic Museum of Art offers four spacious galleries that boast 16-foot ceilings, natural light thanks to skylights and an adaptable layout for a variety of events.
“We have more than 3,000 square feet of sky-lit gallery space,” says Melissa Hall Baker, corporate relations and events manager. “We also have 2,200 square feet of outdoor terraces with full electrical capabilities for music and catering banquet-style seating for up to 130 guests.”
Regular events in the galleries include cocktail parties, dinners, fundraisers and corporate gatherings.
Its 15 Water Street Gallery was renovated last year and can accommodate 50 guests for a seated dinner or 60 for a cocktail reception in its 775-square-foot space. Hall Baker says this is ideal for holiday parties and other events.
Founded in 2003 by eight artists, the Kehler Liddell Gallery is a contemporary art gallery and one of New Haven’s longest running retail galleries to date. Located in the heart of historic Westville Village, KLG sits comfortably amongst a variety of shops and restaurants on Whalley Ave., not far from the Yale Campus.
“KLG artists are all juried into membership, creating a refined group of emerging and established Connecticut-based professionals,” says Roy Money, KLG rental coordinator. “The gallery’s mission is to represent, present, promote and sell work of local contemporary artists as it shares a love of art with the community. Monthly exhibitions are highlighted by free community arts programming for all ages, including artist talks, demos and workshops.”
With 2,000 square feet of open exhibition space, KLG is also one of the city’s most unique event venues.
“Our lofted ceilings range from 12- to 16-feet high,” Money says. “Our venue includes a sound system, lighting, and climate control system as well as a video projector and pull-down screens. We have free parking in a large lot behind the gallery, with front door wheelchair access.”
From private parties and corporate groups to nonprofit organizations and academic institutions, the inviting, contemporary atmosphere provides the perfect setting for guests to relax, mingle and enjoy the company of friends.
“Our clients have hosted everything from fundraisers, political gatherings and organizational meetings to fashion shows, film screenings and music events,” Money says. “We have 40-plus folding chairs, three six-foot tables and a variety of smaller tables available. Though we do not have cooking facilities, we can provide referrals to catering.”
ART IN JERSEY
The Barsky Gallery in Hoboken exhibits an eclectic collection of artists who are defining the direction of contemporary art, from small decorative pieces to large-scale investment art.
“On one hand, we use the Hoboken scene as an inspiration for some of our exhibits, especially if we are showcasing local talent,” says Albert Barsky, owner. “On the other, because there is an entirely exciting world out there, we try to showcase the styles and inspirations from across the globe. We are a nonintimidating gallery, and offer a welcoming environment if you just want to come in and see the fantastic art. You don’t have to be an art expert to browse the walls of Barsky Gallery.”
Since opening its doors six years ago, the gallery team has developed a strong marketing strategy where private events play a key role in the process of promoting its artists.
“Events have been a big focus for us, bringing fresh audiences to the artists we represent,” Barsky says. “Over the years, we have become a welcoming space to celebrate any special occasion. The environment elevates any event to the next level, almost like a spiritual experience.”
The gallery features 1,100 square feet of industrial-chic gallery space that provides a backdrop that’s interesting and visually striking, where guests are encouraged to walk around and experience the art.
“Our space is very flexible to different setups, and we have an open vendor policy, allowing the hosts to bring in their own caterer, floral designer and furniture rental company,” Barsky says. “Our bold décor and art, modern lighting and music system, and the ability to use the space as a “blank canvas” offer a truly memorable and unique event experience that can’t really be achieved in a more traditional venue space. The more unique the venue, the more memorable the event is bound to be.”
From private corporate dinners, networking events and cocktail parties to holiday soirees, the gallery has hosted all sorts of events through the years.
“We’ve had the pleasure of being host to many fantastic events, such as Nike’s 30th Anniversary of the Air Max sneaker, NJIT President’s Reception for top alumni donors, Anheuser-Busch’s Goose Island product launch, Evanta’s CIO Executive Summit dinner and many others,” Barsky says. “Our central location between New York City and New Jersey makes us a favorite venue for many organizations.”