With the ongoing special circumstances and substantial changes in our day to day lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be overwhelming to find ways to celebrate and spend time with others without putting ourselves or others at risk. Due to the inherent dangers of the virus, hundreds of businesses across the Richmond area have been forced to shut down in order to put the safety of their staff and customers first. As some restrictions have been lifted to allow more activity, some of Richmond’s most loved businesses are opening back up for the public to enjoy.

           The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen (CACGA) is one such Richmond organization that has recently been able to open its doors to the public again. The CACGA is thrilled to have the ability to allow rentals for events once again to the public (along with galleries and classes opening, but not yet any performances.) While many people know of the CACGA for its art exhibits and community events, they may not know that the CACGA has been offering beautiful event space to the public for over 21 years, ever since the opening of its doors. “County and Richmond area residents are enriched by what we bring to the community in the form of visual and performing arts, but also as a lovely events venue,” said Events Sales Manager, Nancy Allen.

           The Center was closed for three months during the “shutdown” causing many events to be either postponed or canceled.  Of course, that came with a significant loss of revenue. The opening and return to operations under the Governor’s guidelines brought a new set of challenges.  “The changes [closures and postponements]created confusion and so one of the challenges has been to impose some order on the resulting chaos,” said Allen.        

           It is no secret that safety and well-being will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when hosting events.The Center has implemented new safety precautions, including sanitation and cleaning procedures, to ensure everyone’s safety and health while attending events.  Renters work with The Center to assure that social distancing guidelines are followed. “We are requiring our renters to sign a contract addendum agreeing to take responsibility for compliance with the Governor’s current orders with regard to mask-wearing and social distancing. As we determine the room setups,we take social distancing into account and add extra space at no extra charge to the renter,” said Allen.

           The Center has various unique event spaces. There are lovely ballrooms, a sculpture garden, an art gallery, and historic Walkerton Tavern and lawn. “We are able to offer lovely and functional rental spaces, easy access from major Richmond highways, and lots of free parking. Events at The Center are an excellent value for the money. It is the perfect fit for lovers of The Arts. Of particular interest right now are our two beautiful outdoor venues which have become even more valuable when it comes to planning safe events during this era of COVID-19. People feel safer outside,” said Allen. The spaces vary in style, allowing for many different kinds of events – business meetings, expos, weddings and showers.  Allen says, “It is our pleasure to serve such a diverse community of culture and enterprise. We are a ‘cultural center’ in the truest sense of the word!”

           The CACGA rental model is a unique hybrid. The facilities are owned by Henrico County, while the Center is a nonprofit Foundation for the Arts that operates within the space. One advantage of having this hybrid model for rentals is that the CACGA is able to operate without restrictions that other county facilities have.  “An important difference is that we are able to allow alcohol to be served at our events,” said Allen.

           To explore the options available for rent at the CACGA, you can arrange a tour or check out the website if you’d like to avoid an in-person tour. To do so, visit www.artsglenallen.com and click the “Rent the Center” tab on the website. There is a virtual photo tour of each space, so you can gain an idea of what it looks like and whether it will work for your event. Notice required for reservations varies event to event and space to space. “We sometimes have brides call about dates that are two years away. We also have had celebrations of life with just two days’notice. If the space is available, we are happy to accommodate renters. Each space has its own capacity, which will vary depending on the setup that is needed.Social distance requirements have significantly reduced the capacities of our rental spaces,” said Allen.

           The event arm of The Center is back to almost normal operation despite the adjustments that are required to keep everyone safe. “We offer our community a lovely place to have their events. For as long as people have events and need a place to have them, we provide that service to the community,” said Allen.

           Learn more and schedule a tour today at 804-261-6211 or www.artsglenallen.com.