Community Has Surprise Meeting Sites

September 5, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — In the search for that “just right” meeting spot — from the perfect space for the office Christmas party to a unique setting for an office retreat — it turns out Grand Rapids has some interesting options that fit the bill.

Two of the lesser-known sites for such events are The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) and The Wave Room at Celebration Cinema.

UICA, located downtown at 41 Sheldon Blvd. SE, normally serves as a showcase for a wide variety of art exhibits.

But according to the executive director, Jeff Meeuwsen, the UICA building also has the capacity to be transformed into three separate meeting spaces, including a theater for formal presentations.

Meeuwsen indicated the UICA offers a boardroom, two visual art galleries and the 170-seat theater for companies seeking to hold meetings or events, with the added flavor of being surrounded by contemporary artwork in a culturally rich atmosphere.

Each space caters to a different size crowd, with the Monroe Avenue gallery having a meeting capacity of 500 people, or room for a reception for 700 or a banquet for 300.

UICA charges $250 per hour for the Monroe Avenue gallery, up to a maximum of $1,000.

In contrast, the Front Street gallery space serves smaller gatherings. It can support a meeting of 40 people, a reception involving 75 or a banquet for 48. The cost is $100 an hour to a maximum charge of $400.

UICA advises that its theater can hold 165 people at a charge of $135 an hour to a maximum of $675.

Meeuwsen indicated that the Monroe Gallery and the theater together will accommodate a reception with 740 people in attendance and a banquet for 318, with the cost of $350 an hour to a maximum of $1,400.

He indicated more details are available on UICA’s Web site, www.uica.org

John Loeks, owner of Celebration Cinema at Knapp Street and East Beltline Avenue, told the Business Journal he thinks Celebration’s The Wave Room is unique. “I don’t know of any theater that has a banquet room,” he said.

According to Loeks, Celebration Cinema can play host to business meetings and seminars, fundraising events, client appreciation events, holiday gatherings, bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, dinners and luncheons, church and school outings, wedding receptions, theme parties and movie-related parties.

He also indicated that Celebration supports its clients by offering assistance in planning, providing a preferred list of caterers, bar service and kitchen facilities.

He indicated parking for guests is free and that if one is undertaking something really ambitious, one can bring large items to The Wave Room via an elevator and loading dock.

“This is a nice addition to the community for anyone who wants to do a wedding reception or a business meeting or a community organization banquet,” Loeks said.

In addition to its banquet facilities, Loeks said that for special events, Celebration also can isolate half of its main lobby from movie patrons.

Loeks said Amway has held functions there and the 2003 ADDY Awards were also held in the theater’s lobby.

The Wave Room features a catering prep kitchen and comfortably seats 250 people.

Loeks said rates range in price depending on times and dates.

Afternoon rentals for Friday and Sunday are $500 and Saturday is $600. All-day rental Fridays and Sundays is $800 and for Saturdays is $900. Evening rentals on Thursdays and Sundays is $650, $750 for Fridays and Saturdays.

Holiday rental is surcharged $100.

Loeks said Celebration also has a conference room package, wherein a business can rent The Wave Room and conference rooms from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

More details are available on Celebration Cinema’s Web site at www.celebrationbanquets.com.

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