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Facility Rentals

Downing-Gross is not only a cultural arts facility, it is also an event venue with a variety of spaces available for rental. Consider having your next event here with us! We offer affordable and competitive rates with discounts for residents of the city of Newport News.

Below you will find details about the spaces and the amenities that are available. For any questions, please contact our Administrative Coordinator.

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Available Spaces 

 
 
 

Ella Fitzgerald Theater

The Ella Fitzgerald Theater is a full-service auditorium, equipped to handle a wide range of stage productions as well as motion picture screenings. The size and layout of the theater create an intimate setting where every seat has a great view of the stage.

Capacity:  276 Seats

Rentals starting at $1500 for 8 hours*
*For non-profit use, rentals begin at $800.

 
 
 

Charles C. Allen Executive Board Room

The Charles C. Allen Executive Board Room is the perfect place for important meetings and intimate gatherings. This professional meeting room is furnished with a conference table that seats 18. Additional seating is available upon request.

Smartboard and Projection Available

Rentals start at $20 an hour.

 
 
 

L. Marian Poe Meeting Room

This 1,298 square-foot multipurpose room is ideal for small weddings, meetings, or workshops.

Capacity:

Reception - 150 (standing only)
Reception with tables - 80
Theater Set-Up - 100
Classroom Set-Up - 60

Rentals start at $150 for 4 hours.

 
 
 

Banquet Room

The banquet room is one of our most highly requested spaces. Offering 3,040 square feet, it is an elegant space with a professional catering kitchen for weddings, special events, or conferences.

Capacity:

Banquet Set-Up - 144-180
Reception Set-Up - 445 (standing only)
Theater Set-Up - 250

Rentals start at $400 for 4 hours.

 
 
 

Thaddeus Hayes Dance Studio

Our 3,225 square-foot, mirrored dance studio is available for rehearsals, recitals, and single-day events.

Capacity: 162

Rentals start at $150 for 4 hours.

 

policy basics

General

  • For City of Newport News residents, request for reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis no more than twelve (12) months in advance and no less than thirty (30) days before the requested date.

  • Alcoholic beverages are not permitted within the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center without consent from the city of Newport News and a license from Alcoholic Beverage Control. A certificate of liability is required for all events having any alcoholic beverages.

  • The Facility Coordinator or designee must approve all requests for facility use and receive a deposit before they can be confirmed. Individuals wishing to tour the facility should make an appointment with the rental coordinator so as not to interfere with events in progress.

 
 

Usage

  • The use of confetti and or glitter is prohibited. The use of staples, tacks, or nails on doors, walls, windows or ceilings is forbidden.

  • All fire producing sources must be approved by facility staff prior to usage (ex. candles, Sterno pots, etc.).

  • The number of people in the facility and its rooms shall not exceed established capacity.

  • Caterers must be disclosed to the Facility Coordinator and must comply fully with all policies regarding room rental.

  • The space must be cleaned and returned to pre-rental condition upon conclusion of event:

    • Empty food and beverage containers, paper products, decorations and other trash must be thrown away.

    • All tables and chairs must be wiped off.

    • Kitchen equipment must be cleaned with refrigerators and ovens emptied.

    • If deemed necessary, an extra custodial fee will be added to the rental by the city of Newport News Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department.

  • Room usage or entry is prohibited prior to the pre-arranged scheduled time of use.

  • Hallways and entrances must be left clear of obstructions and should be accessible at all times.

  • Abusive, profane, threatening, or indecent language, attire and behavior are prohibited.

 
 

Cancellation

  • Cancellations received thirty (30) or more days from the reservation date will be refunded minus the deposit.

  • Cancellations made lass than twenty-nine (29) days from the reservation date will result in forfeit of all fees paid.

  • Full refunds are made if a rental is cancelled by the city of Newport News Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

 
 

Room Rates & Amenities

Rental Rates

Room Deposit Rates (Resident) Rates (Non-Resident)
Banquet Room $100 $400 (max 4 hours)
$700 (max 8 hours)
$900 (max 12 hours)
$1100 (8am-11pm)

$100 per additional hour
$450 (max 4 hours)
$750 (max 8 hours)
$950 (max 12 hours)
$1150 (8am-11pm)

$150 per additional hour
L. Marian Poe Meeting Room $50 $150 (max 4 hours)
$300 (max 8 hours)
$400 (max 12 hours)
$500 (8am-11pm)

$50 per additional hour
$200 (max 4 hours)
$350 (max 8 hours)
$450 (max 12 hours)
$550 (8am-11pm)

$75 per additional hour
Thaddeus Hayes Dance Studio $50 $150 (max 4 hours)
$50 per additional hour
Charles C. Allen Board Room $20 $20 (per hour) $25 (per hour)
Security Fee $25 per hour per 75 attendees
(outside of standard operating hours)

If you are interested in renting the theater, please fill out the rental request form at the bottom of this page. Someone will contact you regarding the rates for rental.

 

AMENITiES:

Amenities Cost
Podium with Microphone Free of charge upon request
Dance Floor (Banquet Room Only) $50
3-Gallon Drink Dispenser $10 each
Coffee Urn $12 each
Punch Fountain $20 each
Ice Maker (Poe Room & Board Room Only) $15
Kitchen Cleaning $100
Table Linen (colors: White, Black, Ivory, Navy, Red) $10 each
Projector $50

Additional fees

Additional Fees Details
Security $25/hour per 75 attendees outside of standard operating hours.
(required)
Kitchen Cleaning Fee $100
(optional)

frequently asked questions (faq)

How do I reserve a space at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center?

To reserve a space, you will have to make an appointment to meet with a member of our Sales Team, Complete the Rental application and pay the deposit for the room.

What hours am I able to reserve a space for my event?

Patrons of the downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center my reserve the space from 8am- 11pm, M-F (additional fees may apply)

How many people can the space accommodate?

The Banquet Room can accommodate up to 180 people banquet style including a small dance floor. The Poe room can accommodate up to 80 people banquet style.

Do you allow alcohol at the center?

We do allow alcohol at our center. It is the clients’ responsibility to provide proper ABC licensing & Commercial General Liability Insurance. Proper licensing can be obtained at http://www.abc.virginia.gov/licensing/banquet.htm Please discuss the policy details with our Sales Team

How far in advance can I book a room at Downing-Gross?

Rooms may be booked 12 months in advance and a minimum of 30 days in advance

Can your facility accommodate a repast?

Yes, we can accommodate a repast event with a short notice as long as the space being requested is available. The full cost of the room is due at the time of the reservation

What types of events can I have at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center?

You may hold a Wedding & Receptions, Wedding & Bridal Showers, Seminars, Holiday Get-Together, Reunions, etc.

When Can I schedule a tour of the facility?

Tours can be done at any time during our normal business hours as long as the room is not being occupied at the time of the tour. It is best to call in advance to ensure that you can view the room on a particular day.

What are the restrictions when renting at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center?

Only battery operated candles are allowed in our event spaces. Additionally, decorations must be free-standing and cannot be attached to ceilings or walls. Please see our Facility Use Information Agreements for a complete account of all restrictions.

What if I need to cancel my event?

All requests to cancel a facility reservation must be made in writing. Cancellations received thirty (30) or more days from the reservation date will be refunded minus the deposit. Cancellations made less than twenty-nine (29) days from the reservation date will result in forfeit of all fees paid. Full refunds are made if a rental is cancelled by Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

What time can my event start and end?

Facility event start times vary by the space rented; all facility events must end by 11:00 p.m.

Does the facility provide any setup/breakdown service?

Our staff will set up and break down all provided tables and chairs at no additional cost. Set up and break down of anything not provided by Downing-Gross falls under the responsibility of the rental client.

 

Rental Request Form

Contact Information
Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone
Rental Request
Which space(s) interest you? *
What date are you looking to reserve? *
What date are you looking to reserve?

 

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