Frequently Asked Questions
Who can rent space at VisArts?
VisArts is available for public use and can be rented by individuals, organizations and community groups.
What type of space is available at VisArts?
The spaces available are the Buchanan Room, Artist Concourse and the Kaplan Gallery if appropriate given the exhibition. Many of our classrooms are also available for rent. Inquires regarding rental of a classroom should be made to Lisa Gallant. Click here to contact.
How many guests does each space accommodate?
The Buchanan Room can accommodate 170-seated guests with a dance floor, 220 seated dinner guests without a dance floor and approximately 250 people for a standing cocktail event where guests will not be seated.
The Kaplan Gallery can accommodate up to 100-seated guests but this can change dramatically depending upon the kind of exhibition that is in the space. There may be exhibitions in the Kaplan that would preclude use of the space for anything other than taking pictures or to provide additional space during a cocktail hour reception. Bringing food and/or beverages into the Kaplan is evaluated on an exhibition-by-exhibition basis. Because the exhibition schedule is often not known more than nine months ahead of time it is critical that you discuss use of the Kaplan gallery with one of our event staff. If you desire to use the Kaplan Gallery there will be an additional charge for gallery docents. These docents are present to guard the artwork and can also offer your guests information about the work in the exhibition.
What is included in the facility rental fee?
With a rental of the Buchanan Room, Artist Concourse and Kaplan Gallery the user is entitled to use any of our five foot round tables, six foot banquet tables, gray banquet chairs and high boy tables. There is an integral dance floor in the center of the Buchanan Room that is approximately 25’x25’.
VisArts has audio/visual equipment that the user may arrange to use. There is an additional charge for the use of this equipment. Users wishing to avail themselves of our audio/visual equipment must schedule a site visit to test the compatibility of their equipment with our system. VisArts does not guarantee that our system will be compatible with other sound systems or visual presentations. Users are responsible for providing any and all adapters to VisArts VGA female receptacles.
VisArts does not provide table linens as part of the rental fee but can arrange to provide them for you at an additional charge. Please talk to one of our event planners if you would like us to handle this for you.
Our event staff can also give you information about photographers, furniture rental companies, florists and entertainers who have worked successfully at VisArts but you are welcome to use any vendor you choose.
Are there other charges besides the facility rental fee?
If security staff is required, VisArts will arrange for off-duty Montgomery County police officers. The charge for each officer is $50.00 per hour.
Some events may require an additional site supervisor; particularly if the user will be on multiple floors of the building or the number of guests and the activity warrants this additional staff. Additional site supervisors are $40.00 per hour with a four-hour minimum.
If your event requires a large amount of rental equipment such as special tables, chairs, lighting equipment, sound equipment or staging materials and your vendors will require additional time to load and unload the event there will be additional charges to cover VisArts staff to be on site.
What type of events can be held at VisArts?
VisArts is a unique place to host social events, meetings, seminars, receptions, film screenings, celebrations, presentations, performances and more. Organizers of an event at VisArts are responsible for ensuring that the number of attendees does not exceed the approved number and are responsible for the conduct of all participants. Obtaining any applicable permits is the responsibility of the group or person requesting the space.
When is VisArts open?
Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. However, space can be scheduled within the following time periods:
Sunday through Thursday:
- Use of VisArts space is permitted from 6:00 am until 12:00 midnight
- Up to 2 hours after scheduled use has been concluded may be allowed for cleanup of the Buchanan Room and Concourse
- Alcohol service must conclude by 11:00 pm.
- Youth activities must conclude by 11:00 pm
Friday and Saturday
- Use of VisArts space is permitted from 6:00 am until 1:00 am
- Up to 2 hours after the event concludes is available for user cleanup.
- Alcohol service must conclude one hour before the end of the event.
- Youth activities must conclude by 11:30 pm. Youth activities include events where the primary purpose of the event is for participants under age 18 or more than 51% of participants are under age 18. Youth events require one adult chaperone over the age of 21 for each 20 youth. Some youth events require additional security. VisArts will make this determination in its sole discretion. The cost of additional security is borne by the user.
What about caterers?
If food will be served to the public using a caterer, the catering business must have a valid Food Service Facility License. All caterers will be required to provide this license a minimum of 45 days prior to the scheduled event. Users must identify their choice of caterers to VisArts at least three months prior to the event.
All foods served must be prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen. Absolutely no home-made food may be brought in to VisArts space or served to clients’ guests.
VisArts has relationships with many catering companies at all price levels. Catering companies that have worked with us and demonstrated a commitment to providing excellent service to their clients and have proven their ability to work safely and cleanly in our space have earned our trust and endorsement. Other catering companies are welcome to work at VisArts. There is, however, an additional charge of $400.00 for catering companies that have not established themselves with VisArts as a preferred caterer.
All catering companies must provide a valid certificate of insurance for their business showing at least One Million Dollars in general liability coverage per occurrence and Three Million Dollars coverage per event. If your caterer will be providing or serving alcohol for you they will need to furnish a copy of their off premises liquor sales license and additional liability insurance may be required.
VisArts participates in Montgomery County’s business recycling program. Caterers and users are required to separate mixed glass, plastic and metal from trash and paper. VisArts provides trash, paper bins and mixed recycling cans for all rentals. Caterers may use the trash dumpster in our building’s loading dock however, ALL RECYCLED MATERIALS MUST BE REMOVED BY THE CATERER OR USER AT THE END OF THE EVENT. If a user or one of their vendors puts recyclable materials in the trash dumpster and VisArts is fined, the user will be responsible for reimbursing VisArts for such fines.
Can alcoholic beverages be served at my event?
Yes, alcohol can be served at your event. However, a Caterer on site may serve no liquor without proper licensure from Montgomery County. Caterers holding a license designated by the Montgomery County Liquor Control Board must provide proof of licensure a minimum of 21 days prior to an event. VisArts will not permit alcohol to be served without having this license on file.
Depending upon the nature of the event, different County regulations may apply. Additional security coverage may be required at events including alcohol service.
Do I need a liquor license?
Non-profit organizations may purchase a one-day permit via the Board of License Commissioners. This process can take several weeks and is the responsibility of the user client. Failure to provide a valid license prior to the event will result in revocation of permission to serve alcohol. Additional insurance may be required if you will be serving alcohol under a oneday permit rather than through a catering or bartending company.
If you are using a caterer or vendor to serve alcohol that provider must be licensed by the State of Maryland via the Montgomery County Liquor Board.
Can we walk through VisArts prior to making a decision?
We encourage all clients to visit us and meet with one of our event planners to talk about your needs. Our staff is experienced and will work with you to create an event that you will be proud of.
Is parking available?
There are three public parking lots in Rockville Town Square where VisArts is located. There is also short-term metered parking available directly in front of our building. There are surface lots near VisArts but these are private lots and we do not recommend that you encourage your guests to use them. They are privately owned and your guests risk their vehicles being towed.
You can talk to our event staff about valet parking services or all-day parking vouchers and the charges associated with those services.
We offer validation that is good for two hours of free parking through the use of parking vouchers.
Will I need to buy insurance for my event?
A general certificate of general liability naming VisArts as an additional insured party is required for some events. A liquor liability certificate is also needed when alcohol is served.
Certificates of insurance may be available from your regular insurance carrier. Companies offering one-day special event insurance can be researched on-line.
Copyright materials: A user must obtain all necessary licenses related to its use of copyright music in connection with an event. The user must indemnify and hold VisArts harmless relative to the user’s improper or unauthorized use of the music. The user must also protect, indemnify and hold harmless VisArts from and against all liabilities, damages, claims, demands, judgments, losses, costs, expenses, suits or actions, including attorney’s fees and costs of the defense of VisArts, in any suit (including appeals) based on or arising out of any allegation of infringement, violation, unauthorized use, or conversion of any copyright or propriety right in connection with the event.
When may additional security be required?
Additional security may be required if the event involves the collection of monies such as participant fees or donations. For gatherings that are over a certain size or special events where alcohol is served, security may also be required. This decision will be made in the sole discretion of VisArts. VisArts can arrange for off-duty Montgomery County police officers to serve as security staff for users’ events.
Youth activities or gatherings where more than 51% of the participants are under the age of 21 will require additional security.
Can I decorate the room and post signs?
Users may post signs on stands provided by VisArts. Users should discuss signage needs with VisArts staff to develop a plan.
We encourage you to talk to the VisArts event planners and look at the pictures of how the room has been decorated for prior events. Our staff is eager to help you make your event wonderful and stress-free.
The following rules must be complied with in regards to decorations:
- Non-fire proof decorations are allowed with the approval of VisArts staff.
- No items may be attached to walls, lighting fixtures, etc.
- Nothing may be taped, stapled, thumb tacked, nailed or otherwise attached to the walls or ceiling.
- No open flames (except small tabletop votive candles in glass, metal or ceramic holders or birthday cake candles or candles used during a religious or similar ceremony) without approval by the Fire Marshall.
- Confetti or glitter is prohibited. Additional cleaning charges may be assessed if user is granted permission to use these materials.
- Helium balloons may be used only when properly affixed and weighted. Users will lose a portion of their security deposit if a mylar or helium balloon becomes lodged behind the ceiling lighting fixtures.
- Use of Silly String or items that stain the floors or walls is prohibited.
- All floral deliveries must be scheduled with VisArts staff. All flowers and flower debris must be removed at the conclusion of the event.
- Special equipment requirements must be approved in writing prior to the rental event.
How much time is allotted for set up and clean up?
VisArts does not double book the Buchanan Room for special events. You will have three hours for set up and approximately one and a half to two hours for cleanup depending upon the needs of the event. For those events that have substantial special equipment rentals, additional time for loading in, setting up and breaking down can be arranged for. There will be additional charges assessed for deliveries and pickups that do not occur the day of the event or run outside of the normal set up and clean up times.
Can I take pictures or videotape in the building?
Your rental agreement permits you to use the Buchanan Room and Artists Concourse for pictures. Use of the Kaplan gallery or other spaces within VisArts may be permitted but you will need to discuss this with VisArts staff to make sure that there is appropriate staff to safeguard an exhibition or other space.
VisArts reserves the right to use pictures that its photographers take of your event on its website and in its print materials. VisArts will ask permission prior to the use of any photographs.
Are any special permits required for an event at VisArts?
You may need a special permit if you are a non-profit organization and wish to serve alcohol during your event. These one-day permits are available from the Department of Liquor Control.
Any dance, party, concert or other entertainment for private gain or profit and open to the public requires an Enterprise License. These are available from the Department of Health and Human Services- Licensure and Regulatory Services.
If you are a non-profit organization running a “game of chance” such as bingo or raffles, you may require a license from the Department of Health and Human Services for Montgomery County.
Where is VisArts located and how do I get there?
Notice: 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD 20850, where VisArts is located, is a new street and will not appear on most GPS systems.
From the North:
- Take I-270 South towards Washington
- Take Exit 6/W. Montgomery Avenue, bear left towards Rockville/Rockville Town Center
- Continue on W. Montgomery Avenue (MD 28E)
- Turn left on N. Washington St.
- Turn right on E. Middle Ln.
- Turn left on Gibbs St.
- VisArts is to your right, sharing the block with the Library
From the South:
- Take I-495N Slight left at I-270N spur towards (Rockville/Frederick)
- Merge onto I-270N (Frederick)
- Take exit 6A/W. Montgomery Avenue (MD 28E)
- Bear right on W. Montgomery Avenue (MD 28E)
- Turn left on S. Washington St.
- Turn right on E. Middle Ln.
- Turn left on Gibbs St.
- VisArts is to your right, sharing the block with the Library
Directions from the Metro:
- VisArts is about a five-minute walk from the Rockville Metro stop on the Red Line.
- Exit the Metro following the signs pointing to "Rockville Town Center."
- Walk towards 355N and cross over at the corner onto E. Middle Lane.
- Walk two blocks and make a right onto Gibbs Street. (Noodle Co. on the corner).
- Continue on Gibbs past the town square. VisArts building directly ahead—look for banners on building.
- Entrance on the right at the end of the block – 155 Gibbs Street.