What happens during a Rental Tour?
A staff member will walk you through our venue discussing policies and possibilities for your event. You will get a sense of the layout of the venue and will be able to decide if it is the right option for your special event.
How far in advance should I book?
For spring, summer, & fall weekend dates, at least a year in advance is advised. Wedding season is generally considered to be April - early November, and those weekends tend to book first. (Although we hold weddings year-round!) We are happy to provide our availability if you inquire. There are some holiday weekends, such as July 4th, that are not availible.
How many hours are included in the rental?
All rental periods are 8 hours. You may use less than the 8-hour period, but the rate is the same. The 8-hour period is also structured so that the first 2 hours are set-up time, and the last hour of the rental is clean-up and breakdown - leaving 5 hours for the event itself. Additional hours may be added at the rate of $100/hr.
How late may my event run? Is there a limit?
Yes. All events must end by Midnight.
Will you reserve the date for me?
Unfortunately, due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we are unable to reserve a date until you have provided a deposit for your event. Once we have your deposit, we consider your event to be 'booked'. A contract with your event details will be generated and the date is considered to be yours. All dates are first come, first served.
How should I send payment to reserve a date?
We accept all major credit cards by phone or mailed checks payable to the Multicultural Arts Center. Your rental deposit amount will be ½ your total rental fee, plus a refundable 25% security deposit. The remaining half of your rental fee will be due 2 weeks prior to the date of your event. And yes, all of this information will be listed in your event contract. You may mail or drop off your check in person.
May I rent one of your galleries and hang artwork for my event?
No. Our gallery exhibitions are selected from submitted proposals and exhibitions are normally scheduled at least a year in advance. If you rent our venue you may use the Gallery as an event space, but the artwork in the gallery must remain in place and all guests and event staff must take great care not to damage or disturb the artwork in any way.
Can we decorate the venue?
Decorations must be okayed by Multicultural Arts Center staff. In general, flowers and plants are allowed. Because the Theater is a performing arts space, certain decorations are prohibited for safety reasons. Please discuss details of your decorations with staff.
How large are the rooms?
You can download diagrams of the Gallery and Theater here.
How early may we begin to set up for our event?
You may arrive on site when your rental hours begin. If your rental hours are from 3:00-11:00PM, we can only guarantee that the venue will be open and accessible during these hours. All deliveries of rental items, alcohol, etc. must be scheduled with a staff member. All vendor pickups must be scheduled during your rental time at the end of the night.
May I leave items over the weekend to be picked up on Monday?
No, all your vendors and items must be cleared out of the space by the end of your event. Anything left in the space outside of your rental time must be cleared by the Multicultural Arts Center in advance.
What is included in the rental fee?
Your rental fee allows up to 8 hours of access to our venue, use of the Theater, the Upper Gallery, kitchen, Green Room, 2nd Floor Studios (dressing rooms), and Centanni Hallway. Use of the courtyard requires an additional $50 permit - if permit by the City of Cambridge is granted. You are also permitted to hold a wedding rehearsal on-site during our business hours, as long as there are no scheduling conflicts.
You will also have basic lighting design, our sound system if necessary, up to 5 mics, and a Production Assistant present on the day of the event. The Production Assistant is responsible for opening the venue, working with caterers, making sure lights and sound are behaving, and generally overseeing all operations at the venue. If you require a dedicated light or sound tech., there are additional fees for hiring such staff.
For Private/Corporate weekend rentals, your security guard fees are included in the rental fee. For Non-Profit rentals on Saturday or Sunday: there will be a $33/hr security guard fee. There is no security guard charge for Non-Profit rentals Monday-Friday.
What additional items should I expect to rent?
We encourage you to rent our chairs and tables. You may also wish to rent our projection screen, projector, use of our baby grand piano, or to obtain a permit to use the courtyard. These fees and item details are listed on the Additional Rental Items.
From outside vendors/through your caterer, you may wish to rent additional tables, chairs, linens, dishware, or other equipment.Please also consider fees associated with hiring a DJ, centerpieces, floral arrangements, or other decorations as well.
Yes. Please communicate to your guests that they should park in the municipal garage on the corner of First Street and Spring Street. The garage entrance is on Spring Street, just a block away from our venue. The fee is roughly $3-$6 to park for the evening and there is no time limit. More information on Directions page.
Yes. In all of our rooms.
Do I need to hire a police detail or security?
No, a police detail is not necessary. There will be a building security guard on-site during your event. (He is on-site to ensure that the rest of the building offices remain secure and that no one is damaging the building or property.) For Private Rentals, the security guard fee is included in your rental fee.
I will have many guests from out of town. Hotels?
There are a number of hotels in the area...some within walking distance: Royal Sonesta, Hotel Marlowe, and Fairfield Inn.
Must I use one of your Approved Caterers?
Because we are an historic venue with a small staff, yes, we require use of a caterer from our Approved Caterer List. Caterers on our list understand they are responsible for all set-up/breakdown/clean up for your event, and they have all catered events here in the past. They are familiar with our venue, policies and restrictions, have gotten exceptional feedback, and will provide our clients with the very best in service and cuisine. There are many client benefits when your selected caterer knows your venue well, and we have a wide variety of options to choose from for your special event!
We complete a catering review once a year and will from time to time accept new caterers, although if you are planning an event here, you must plan to use a caterer who is already on our list.
Can we provide our own food or could the caterers just drop off the food?
No, unfortunately. We are a small organization with a small staff. Caterers must be hired to serve/provide all food. Caterers are also responsible for all table/chair set-up, clean-up, and hauling of event garbage from venue.
What is a walk-through?
Most events taking place at our venue require a walk-through to be done ~3 weeks in advance of the event. This is to ensure that the client, caterer, Multicultural Arts Center, and any other relevant parties are on the same page with regard to plans and scheduling for the event. At times, DJs, florists, or other technical staff will be included in the walk-through. We will discuss timeline, floor plan, rental items, deliveries/pick-ups, and other pertinent details. A walk-through addresses any possible problems and ensures things run smoothly on the day of the event.
Is your capacity really 150 people?
If you want all of your guests to sit in the same room, at tables, and would still like room for a dance floor, then yes. If you are planning a different type of event and would like to seat guests in separate rooms (Theater and Upper Gallery), or planning to have a cocktail-style reception without large tables, or have another plan, then our capacity could be as large as 200. For most weddings, 150 guests is the largest amount that can fit comfortably in the Theater. However, if you are planning to have other components of your event placed in the Theater (buffet tables or stations, a band larger than 5, a stage, a large display, etc.) then this will also cut into usable floor space and will reduce guest capacity.
For most weddings, the bar is placed across the hallway from the Theater in the Gallery, allowing for tables, dance floor and entertainment and (if desired) buffet/stations to be set up in the Theater. If you are seating the maximum 150 guests, room for buffet/stations may be tight.
What!? No candles, confetti, rice or balloons?
I'm sorry. We hate fun. (Just kidding.) Because we are an historic venue located in Cambridge, we do have certain policies that must be followed. We cannot allow you to have an open flame (candles), confetti or rice inside or outside for health and safety reasons and we cannot allow balloons indoors because if they do escape, we have no way of getting them down from our very high theater ceiling.
What is your alcohol policy?
If your event will have an open bar, our requirement is that your bartender be properly licensed and insured.
Where can I have my ceremony?
If your wedding is taking place during the warmer months, Centanni Courtyard is the perfect spot for ceremonies. Located just outside of our main entrance, the courtyard continues the historic feel of our Theater with brick walkways, lawns and arbors. Use of the courtyard requires an additional $50 permit - if permit by the City of Cambridge is granted. We will apply for a permit on your behalf.
If your wedding is scheduled for cooler months, you can plan for your ceremony to be held indoors in the Theater. Your guests will exit the Theater for cocktail hour, and the caterers will flip the room to re-open the Theater for the reception.
What if it rains on the day of my wedding?
If you have planned for your wedding ceremony to take place outside in Centanni Courtyard and there is rain or other inhospitable weather forecast for your wedding day, Multicultural Arts Center staff and your caterers make the call that day. Your ceremony will then be set up inside in the Theater. Chairs for your guests will be set up in rows, facing the wall with the 4 windows in the Theater, and tables are pushed to the far end of the room. The bride may make her entrance from the hallway entrance, the balcony entrance, or a side door. Guests exit to Centanni Hall and the Upper Gallery for the cocktail hour while caterers quickly flip the room for your reception.
May I hold a wedding rehearsal?
If you would like to schedule, for example, a Friday afternoon rehearsal for your weekend wedding, we are usually able to accommodate you (free of charge too!) Rehearsals must be held during our business hours, no exceptions. Because we are a performing arts venue, we will at times have concerts or other performances on Friday evenings, so rehearsals may need to be held earlier in the day.
Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second Street
East Cambridge, MA 02141
Our facility is accessible.
Our Gallery is currently open Tuesday-Friday
10am - 6pm.
Rental tours are available by appointment. See our Rental page.
Tuesdays and Fridays,
Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10am-8pm.
We support diversity through the visual and performing arts events that we present. Because we are a multi-use art center, we make our space available to artists and groups who may not otherwise have access to a professionally equipped and accessible facility or the cultural mainstream.
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