Welcome to the Allen Center for Arts and Culture - a state-of-the-art facility with rental spaces available for cultural and community social events. Owned and operated by the Newton Cultural Alliance (NCA), the facility currently hosts offices for four cultural organizations and has rental space for meetings, rehearsals, and performances for NCA members and visiting artists along with a small works art gallery, social space, and ample outdoor event space. With its rich history, picturesque grounds, and newly renovated spaces, the Allen Center is the perfect place to host your cultural or social event.

A Brief History of the Allen Center

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and a Newton landmark, the Nathaniel Topliff Allen House, built c.1848-1852, was the home of Nathaniel Allen, one of the most progressive educators of his time. The building served for more than a century as part of a school founded by Allen and subsequently operated by his daughters. Allen's educational model was highly enlightened, providing learning opportunities across gender, race, and ethnic origin, and promoting rigorous physical education and an appreciation for the arts. Learn more about the history of the building here.

The Newton Cultural Alliance purchased the historic homestead in November 2012 with the goal of creating a dynamic cultural center that honors the spirit of Nathaniel Allen and his family as progressive thinkers, innovators, educators, and collaborators. With its idyllic location in West Newton Square, the Allen Center is now a place where our entire community can gather to create, experience, learn, explore, and celebrate. Learn more about the renovation and restoration here.

About the Facility

The Allen Center building is fully ADA accessible. Approved parking is available for 26 cars, including two handicapped spaces, with additional parking available in municipal lots and in a local private lot during the evening and on weekends. The new geothermal HVAC and ventilation system provides advanced air circulation, air conditioning, and heat. The facility also has two catering kitchens available for use by approved caterers and organizations. A member of the NCA staff will be on-site for the duration of all activities.

The Allen Center has the following spaces available.  Each may be rented separately or they may be rented together up to a capacity of 120. Tours of the Allen Center for prospective renters are available by appointment – please email contact@newtonculture.org to schedule a tour.

Spaces Available to Rent

Great Hall

The Great Hall offers 1550 sq ft of multipurpose performance and gathering space. It also includes access to the adjacent Lobby (400 sq ft) and the Gallery on the lower level (950 sq ft).

Amenities included with rental:

  • Capacity: 120 with audience style seating
  • 65" TV monitor on rolling cart with HDMI cable
  • Steinway Model A Piano (Tuning available for additional fee with ample notice)
  • Use of the green room on lower level
  • Large carriage doors that open to the patio
  • Complimentary guest WiFi

Art Gallery

Included in the rental of the Great Hall is our roughly 950 sq. ft of gallery space and adjacent lobby on the building’s lower level. Beginning in the fall of 2021, the gallery will be hosting rotating small works exhibits showcasing local artists, which will provide the ideal backdrop for a pre-show drink, mingling during intermission, or reception. The catering kitchen on this level features a half-door perfect for serving drinks and concessions.

Historic Classroom

The Historic Classroom, adjacent to the Great Hall offers 670 sq ft of adaptable gathering space with original built-in bench seating and access to the Lobby (400 sq ft). Amenities included with rental:

  • Capacity: 50
  • 65" TV monitor on rolling cart with HDMI cable
  • Complimentary guest WiFi

Recital Hall

The Recital Hall offers 500 sq ft of intimate, salon-style performance/gathering space. It also includes access to the adjacent Lobby (400 sq ft). Amenities included with rental:

  • Capacity: 40
  • 65" TV monitor on rolling cart with HDMI cable
  • Steinway model M piano (Tuning available for additional fee with ample notice)
  • Complimentary guest WiFi

Lobby

The bright and inviting lobby is included in the rental of the Great Hall, Historic Classroom, and Recital Hall. The space features high ceilings with exposed beams original to the historic structure and is accessible from both main entry points (Webster St driveway and Cherry St parking lot). It is the perfect place for a “box office” for ticket sales, event check-in and registration, or gathering space before or after a performance.

Patio and Small Garden

This lovely outdoor space is suitable for social events, receptions, and small acoustic performances. The brick patio space is roughly 1,634 sq ft and is adjacent to a small garden/lawn space, with easy access to the Great Hall, lobby, and parking lot. Amenities included with rental:

  • Three round patio tables, with umbrellas (optional)
  • Six patio chairs with cushions
  • Two Adirondack chairs
  • Complimentary guest WiFi

Parlors

The Allen Center also has multiple parlor spaces of roughly 275 sq feet each of meeting space for up to 11 people. These parlors are on the first floor of the historic home section of the building, and provide a comfortable, private environment for Board meetings, individual or small-group music lessons, and more.

Amenities included with rental:

  • Capacity: 11 people per parlor
  • 65" TV monitor on rolling cart with HDMI cable
  • Tables and chairs
  • Complimentary guest WiFi

 

Rental Terms and Fees

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The following guidelines are for informational purposes only. While we aim to keep this information as clear and accurate as possible, please note that the final terms and conditions of the rental may differ from what is listed here and will be discussed in full with prospective renters prior to finalizing a reservation. A complete listing of policies, fees, restrictions, and rules will accompany the final written agreement sent by NCA staff.

Your reservation for the space is confirmed only with payment of a rental deposit and when a rental agreement has been completed and countersigned by NCA staff. Renters who notify NCA in writing 15 days in advance that they wish to cancel the event, will receive their total rental deposit back. The bill must be paid in full 15 days in advance, or the event will be removed from the rental schedule.

NCA is dedicated to the spirit of equity and inclusion as exemplified by Nathaniel Allen's 19th century progressive, multi-racial, co-ed school. Initiatives that support education, anti-racism, and social justice may receive special price consideration. Additionally, discounts are available for NCA Members and Friends of the Allen House.

 

Rate Structure

Space Cultural Event Rate Social/Community Event Rate
Great Hall (Lobby and Gallery included) Rehearsals, recordings, meetings (3 hour min): $225

Performances (4 hour min): $500

3 hours or less: $375

4 hours: $450

5 hours: $600

Historic Classroom (Lobby included) Rehearsals, recordings, meetings (2 hour min): $100 Inquire for rates
Recital Hall (Lobby included) Rehearsals/recordings/meetings (2 hour min): $120

Performances (3 hour min): $360

3 hours or less: $225

4 hours: $300

Patio and Garden Inquire for rates Inquire for rates
Parlors $50 per hour Inquire for rates

 

Additional Fees

  • Security Deposit: Amount dependent on final rental fee
  • Cleaning/Maintenance: $100
  • Piano tuning (if applicable)

Rental Guidelines

Rental Hours

  • Cultural event rental periods require a minimum of 30 minutes before and after the event for set up and clean up.
  • Social event rental periods require a minimum of 60 minutes before and after the event for set up and clean up.
  • The building is not available prior to 8 am.
  • All events must end by 10 pm, clean up must be complete by 11 pm.

 

Parking

Onsite:

  • There is limited onsite parking available on the Cherry Street side of the property, maximum capacity of 26 cars.
  • The driveway on Webster Street is a fire lane and is exclusively drop-off only (with the exception of the single handicapped-accessible parking space).
  • There are 8 additional parking spots in the lower lot accessible from Columbus Place that are reserved for NCA staff, catering vehicles, and artists/presenters for the event. Use of this lot MUST be approved by NCA staff in advance.

Other Parking:

  • There is a municipal parking lot available between Cherry St. and Elm St. Please note the time restrictions and hourly rates. Event attendees are solely responsible for adhering to city parking regulations.
  • Events on weekday evenings and weekends may use the Family Access parking lot, on the corner of Webster St and Waltham St.
  • There is a municipal parking lot available on Waltham St. Please note the time restrictions and hourly rates. Event attendees are solely responsible for adhering to city parking regulations.
  • On-street parking (both metered and unmetered) is available on many of the surrounding streets. Please note the applicable time restrictions, residential parking restrictions, and hourly rates. Event attendees are solely responsible for adhering to city parking regulations.

 

Accessibility

The Allen Center has two main points of entry, which are both handicapped accessible. The Cherry Street parking lot has a designated handicapped parking spot and flat entry into the main lobby from the adjacent patio. The Webster Street drop off zone has a designated handicapped parking spot and ramp entry into the main lobby. There is an elevator, which provides access to the barn level (Great Hall, Historic Classroom, and Main Lobby), the house level (Recital Hall, Parlors, accessible family restroom, Upper Catering Kitchen), and the lower level (Gallery, Green Room, Lower Catering Kitchen, and restrooms).

 

Equipment Available Onsite:

  • Sound system in the Great Hall
  • A variety of tables and chairs for up to 100 people in the Great Hall and 40 people in the Recital Hall
  • 65" TV monitor on rolling cart with HDMI cable
    • To be sure your technology functions well the day of your event, if you require the use of the TV and HDMI cable or other technology, please arrange a time with us to test your laptop and presentation ahead of your event.
  • 20 music stands
  • Steinway Model A piano in the Great Hall (tuning available for additional fee with ample notice)
  • Steinway Model M piano in the Recital Hall (tuning available for additional fee with ample notice)
  • Tables and chairs for groups up to 11 people in the Parlors
  • Outdoor tables with umbrellas and chairs on the Patio
  • Free public Wi-Fi

 

Kitchen and Catering

The Allen Center has two catering kitchens available for use by approved caterers and organizations. Both include access to refrigeration, stove, oven, microwave, sinks, prep space, and serving window.

**NOTE: Beer, wine and liquor are permitted if a proper liquor license is obtained from the City of Newton (For more information visit City of Newton’s Licensing Commission). Renter is responsible for obtaining the liquor license and must provide proof of approval to NCA staff prior to the start of their event.

HVAC System

The Allen Center features a new geothermal HVAC and ventilation system. The system uses the naturally occurring temperature differences between the air inside the building, the air outside, and the sub-surface earth to provide state-of-the-art air circulation, air conditioning, and heat from a renewable and sustainable resource. Tours of the building with explanations of the geothermal systems at work are available by appointment. Email contact@newtonculture.org to inquire.

 

Mandatory COVID-19 safety procedures (for Cultural/Community events only):

  • Up to 75 mins in the space before mandatory 20 min break/intermission to run air exchange system
  • Masks required for all unvaccinated adults.
  • Masks required by ALL if unvaccinated children are present in the space.
  • Hand sanitizing stations (provided by the Allen Center)
  • Strict adherence to capacity limits

 

Other Important Guidelines:

  • A Newton Cultural Alliance staff member will be present at all times during your event.
  • Cultural events may require a one-day entertainment license. (For more information visit City of Newton’s Licensing Commission). Renter is responsible for obtaining the license and must provide proof of approval to NCA staff prior to the start of their event.
  • A Newton Police Officer must be on duty during an event when 100+ people are expected. The renter is responsible for this cost.
  • No signs may be taped to the wall of the premises except with prior permission.
  • No nails, tacks, pushpins or other materials may be used on walls.
  • No animals are allowed inside the building with the exception of service dogs.
  • The Allen Center property is bordered by residential properties. We aim to keep our relationship with our neighbors as positive and unintrusive as possible. We ask that all renters, audience members, and guests are mindful of that fact and ensure that no driveways are blocked, no properties are trespassed upon, and that noise levels outside of the building are kept at a reasonable level. NCA reserves the right to end any event early if valid complaints from the neighbors are received.