Entertaining

Host Your Next Event at the MFAH

The MFAH campus offers a variety of unique and elegant spaces for private events. Venues include the art galleries, sculpture garden, two house museums, and two auditoriums.

Availability depends on the museum's schedules of public hours and programming. Political, commercial, fundraising, and religious events (including wedding ceremonies) are not permitted.

Entertainment privileges are open to individual (Leadership Circle) and corporate/nonprofit (Corporate Partner) members at the Gallery Level or above.

Please e-mail entertain@mfah.org with questions. Scroll down to view the selection of spaces for your entertaining needs.


Caroline Wiess Law Building

1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Usage Fee: $10,000

Designed by Bauhaus master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in two phases (1958 and 1974), the Law Building’s elegant Modernist pavilion opens onto Bissonnet, now the Law Building’s front entrance. The rear of the building, a neoclassical structure designed by William Ward Watkin in the early 1920s to serve as the first MFAH building, has gallery spaces that are more intimate.

North Foyer
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 250

The North Foyer is generally used as the entry area for events in Cullinan Hall and the Brown Pavilion Galleries. It houses the MFAH’s permanent collection of art from Oceania, and is well suited as a registration and cocktail reception area.

Cullinan Hall
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 750, Seated Dinner – 400, Seated Dinner with Dance Floor – 350

Cullinan Hall, with its 30 foot ceiling and 6,800 square feet of open floor space, is the museum’s largest and most flexible space for entertaining. Generally on view in Cullinan Hall are selections from the museum’s permanent collection of Modern and Contemporary art, with special temporary exhibitions occasionally installed in this large gallery.

Brown Pavilion Galleries
Maximum Capacity*: Reception – 300, Seated Dinner – 150, Seated Dinner with Dance Floor – 100

*Capacities subject to change depending on specific exhibition wall placement designs.

The Brown Pavilion Galleries, which opened in 1974, complete the Mies van der Rohe design as a showcase for the MFAH’s permanent collection of Modern and Contemporary art and special traveling exhibitions. The gently curved galleries are well suited for cocktail receptions and moderate-sized dinners. The Brown Pavilion Galleries, overlooking Cullinan Hall below, can also be used in tandem with Cullinan Hall when additional space for an event is needed.

Blaffer and Sterling Galleries
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 100, Seated Dinner – 50

These two galleries, renovated in 1998, handsomely display the museum’s sub-Saharan African art and the exquisite Glassell Collection of African Gold. Blaffer and Sterling Galleries are ideally suited for small cocktail receptions, and are excellent for intimate dinners in a dramatic and exotic space.


Audrey Jones Beck Building

5601 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

Usage Fee: $10,000

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rafael Moneo and opened in 2000, the Beck Building – which houses the museum’s collection of Antiquities, Old Masters, Impressionism, American art, and Modern and Contemporary art – offers a variety of spaces for entertaining.

ExxonMobil Information Center
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 200, Seated Dinner – 120

Cullen Foundation Plaza
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 800, Seated Dinner – 180, Seated with Dance Floor – 160

ExxonMobil Information Center Lobby & Cullen Foundation Plaza
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 1,000

The ExxonMobil Information Center Lobby opens to the dramatic first floor Cullen Foundation Atrium, which soars 80 feet and is illuminated by the signature skylight “boxes” of architect Raphael Moneo. The atrium is home to the museum’s Greek and Roman antiquities, and although the atrium is not available as an event space, it provides a stunning backdrop for moderate-sized cocktail receptions held in the ExxonMobil Information Center Lobby.

The Beck Building’s Cullen Foundation Plaza (porte cochere) may be used in conjunction with the lobby to accommodate larger receptions of up to 1,000. The Cullen Foundation Plaza provides a large, covered event space the entire length of the Beck Building along Main Street.

Janice and Robert C. McNair Gallery
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 100, Seated Dinner – 80

Landscapes and seascapes by 19th-century European masters Corot, Courbet, Rousseau, and Turner hang on the walls of the McNair Gallery. These artists, often referred to as the Barbizon School, paved the way for the Impressionists. Their canvases provide a stunning backdrop for small receptions and special dinners.

John A. and Audrey Jones Beck Collection Galleries
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 75, Seated Dinner – 60

The John A. and Audrey Jones Beck Collection of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism became a part of the museum’s permanent collection in 1998, and fills six galleries on the 2nd floor of the Beck Building. The largest of the six Beck Collection galleries can accommodate a modest sized stand-up cocktail reception, with butler service of passed hors d’oeuvre, or a small intimate dinner among paintings by Monet, Cézanne, and Caillebotte.

Shell Oil Company Foundation Gallery
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 50, Seated Dinner – 30

With a large window looking onto downtown Houston, the Shell Oil Company Foundation Gallery houses 19th and early 20th-century European art, including two sculptures by Auguste Rodin. The Shell Foundation Gallery can accommodate very intimate dinners of up to 30 guests.

Smaller than the adjacent Beck Collection Gallery, the Shell Foundation Gallery may also be used in tandem with the Beck Collection Gallery; accommodating a stand-up cocktail reception with butler service only, in the Shell Foundation Gallery, before guests move into the larger Beck Collection Gallery for a seated dinner.

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Collection Galleries
Maximum Capacity: Reception – 150, Seated Dinner – 120

The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Collection is on long-term view at the MFAH, occupying five 2nd-floor galleries of the Beck Building. In the largest of the Blaffer Foundation Collection galleries, guests can enjoy a moderate-sized cocktail reception or an elegant seated dinner, surrounded by Old Master European paintings from the 14th to 16th centuries. Certain restrictions apply to the use of these galleries as an event space.


Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden

1000 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Usage Fee: $5,000

Maximum Capacity: Reception – 450, Seated Dinner – 200

Designed by famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi and opened in 1986, the Cullen Sculpture Garden showcases masterworks of 19th- and 20th-century sculpture. A unique and tranquil oasis of art and nature at the corner of Bissonnet and Montrose, across from the Law Building, the garden provides an elegant setting for cocktails or dinner.


Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

1 Westcott Street
Houston, TX 77007

Usage Fee: $7,500–$15,000, depending on guest count

Maximum Capacity: 350 guests

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of American paintings, furniture, and decorative arts. Situated on 14 acres of formal and wooded gardens, Bayou Bend was designed by architect John F. Staub for Texas philanthropist Miss Ima Hogg and completed in 1928. Eight formal gardens are set among the woods and ravines bordering the estate. Although the house itself is available only for self-guided tours of the first floor, the gardens and north lawn, adjacent to the Diana Fountain, are available for entertaining.


Rienzi

1406 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77019

Usage Fee: $6,000–$8,000, depending on guest count

Maximum Capacity: 175 guests

Rienzi is the center for European furniture and decorative arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The former residence of Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, Rienzi was designed by famed architect John F. Staub in 1952. In 1972 the Mastersons neighbor, architect Hugo V. Neuhaus, added a ballroom to the residence. This addition allowed the owners to expand their social activities and gave Harris Masterson more room for his growing collection of European ceramics, which today form the core of the Rienzi Collection.


Brown Auditorium

1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Usage Fee: $1,000

Maximum Capacity: 350 fixed lecture style seats

As part of Mies van der Rohe’s 1954 master plan for the Law Building expansion, the Brown Auditorium Theater provides excellent sight lines to the stage from all 350 of its fixed seats and offers sophisticated audio-visual capabilities. Food and beverage are not permitted in the auditorium.


Freed Auditorium

5101 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, TX 77005

Usage Fee: $500

Maximum Capacity: 95 fixed lecture style seats

Freed Auditorium is the classroom lecture hall of the Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. School of Art. Designed by S.I. Morris Associates and opened in November 1978. Freed Auditorium offers a variety of audio-visual equipment. Food and beverage are not permitted in the auditorium.