Index > Student Life Policies > RISD Auditorium and Facility Use and Rental Policy

RISD Auditorium and Facility Use and Rental Policy

RISD facilities have the primary purpose of supporting the educational mission of the College and its curricular and co-curricular programs. Academic departments, administrative offices, and officially recognized student, faculty, and staff organizations may usually use the facilities at no charge. The Auditorium on Canal Walk (capacity: 575) and select other facilities of the Rhode Island School of Design are also available for rental by non-RISD groups for meetings, cultural presentations, entertainment programs, educational programs and other uses which promote a stimulating artistic or intellectual environment.

In general, requests for community use of RISD facilities will be reviewed subject to (a) the specific priorities and policies established for the requested facility; (b) the prior commitments of that facility for regular educational program use; (c) the suitability of the requested space for the particular type of program proposed; (d) the event’s impact on the College’s status as a tax-exempt educational institution; (e) RISD resources required to support the proposed use.

Requests for use of College facilities, particularly the RISD Auditorium, will be considered for the following types of activities, subject to the limitations stated elsewhere in these guidelines:

  1. Activities of a broad educational or informational nature sponsored by professional societies and other nonprofit organizations, and educational and training programs of the tax-exempt educational components of profit-making organizations whose principal business is not education.
  2. Programs with artistic, cultural, or entertainment content, which may appeal to the College community.
  3. Charitable events on a limited basis.
  4. Student-initiated events approved by the Center for Student Involvement.

The following types of activities ordinarily will NOT have access to College facilities:

  • Activities sponsored by off-campus organizations for political purposes or for fundraising for political goals, for influencing public policy, or for religious events.
  • Other fund-raising activities (except for a limited number for charitable purposes).
  • Activities conducted primarily for the purpose of making a profit for the sponsoring organization which are not of general interest to the College community.
  • Activities which could be construed by the public to be educational courses or other activities sponsored by the College when, in fact, they are not so sponsored.
  • Activities conducted by individuals for personal events.
  • Activities that fall outside the guidelines.

The following additional considerations will be taken into account in considering requests for the use of College facilities:

  • The activity should not interfere with the schedule of normal activities of the College.
  • The sponsoring organization must make a deposit, provide a certificate of insurance liability naming RISD as an “additional insured” and demonstrate administrative capacity to organize and manage the event in a manner consistent with College traditions, standards, and requirements.
  • The content of the activity should be reasonably compatible with the primary activities and the mission of the College as an educational institution and should be carried out with the decorum appropriate to the academic environment.

Groups wishing to rent or use the RISD Auditorium should send an email to and provide basic information about the event:

  • Dates and times the room is needed
  • Name of event
  • Purpose of event
  • Approximate number of attendees
  • Audio visual needs
  • Food needs
  • Any other information about the event which will help to make it run smoothly and to determine whether a Public Safety detail is needed
  • Contact name, email and phone

Non-RISD affiliated groups, please contact

Event Sponsorship

Student organizations

Student organizations may not serve as proxy organizations for outside entities to operate on campus.

Student organizations that wish to co-sponsor campus events with outside organizations or entities must seek the advice and consent of the Center for Student Involvement. While we recognize the benefits of partnerships and collaborations with non-College entities, the logistical and financial responsibilities of student sponsored events must reside with a recognized student organization and its leadership corps.

RISD co-sponsorship

When an academic or administrative department agrees to co-sponsor an event organized primarily by or for an outside group, several requirements are important to note:

  • It becomes the responsibility of the department to work directly with the organization to plan, coordinate and participate with all aspects of the event.
  • A RISD department or organization that proposes to co-sponsor an event must apply for approval to do so. RISD academic departments must receive approval from the Provost. RISD student groups must receive approval from the Center for Student Involvement (CSI). The CSI must receive approval from the Dean of Students.
  • Depending on the nature of the event, the usual rental fee may be waived at the discretion of the Provost or designee for events co-sponsored by a RISD academic departments. Similarly, the usual rental fee may be waived at the discretion of the Dean of Students for events co-sponsored by CSI.
  • Direct costs for Public Safety, custodial, and audio/visual services will be charged to the account number of the departmental co-sponsor. It will be up to the RISD department to get reimbursed by the outside group if they wish to do so.
  • A Certificate of Liability insurance from the off-campus sponsor naming RISD as an additional insured is required for co-sponsored events; requests for waivers and exceptions will be the decision of the RISD Office of Risk Management and made on a case-by-case basis.
  • The off-campus sponsor of the event must provide rental payment in full by 30 days prior to the date of the event. If payment is not received, then the RISD co-sponsor will be charged the rental fee by a debit to their RISD general ledger account.

Facility Usage Fees

Rate for the Auditorium generally includes private use of the lobby and the ticket booth, if desired, as well as use of the RISD podium and basic audio visual, including house/stage lighting and podium sound equipment. Additional charges apply for direct expenses that are beyond the rental fee, including additional a/v equipment; services of an Audio Visual technician or the hiring of an approved outside audio/visual firm, if needed; a public safety detail, which may be required; and custodial services. The Rental Fee Schedule for the RISD Auditorium appears further on in this document.

RISD also offers a smaller auditorium venue (seating capacity: 212). For general information about Metcalf Auditorium, contact Museum special events at

For use of other campus spaces, please contact Anne Colasanto at


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that when planning conferences, events, and activities, the sponsoring office or department handle requests for accommodations. In registration brochures, invitations, or flyers, the following statement should be used: To request disability accommodation, please contact [name, department, address, telephone needed here].

Additional Guidelines for Review of Applications for Use of Facilities

  • Tickets may be sold at a reasonable fee to cover costs.
  • All events are subject to availability.
  • RISD reserves the right to reject the application of any group at its sole discretion.
  • Sale of retail items is prohibited. The exception to this is sales of items directly related to the programming such as CDs of a performing musical group or books by a visiting lecturer or tee shirts. Also allowed in the lobby are sales events organized by risd|works.
  • RISD Caters is the initial food service contact point for anyone organizing an event on campus. Light food and drink is permitted in the Auditorium lobby, but NOT in the auditorium itself, not even water. If RISD Caters does not cater your event, then the caterer must provide their own Certificate of Insurance Liability in the amount of $2 million with RISD named as an additional insured. Cash bars are allowed with prior approval of RISD Caters which is the sole provider of alcohol on campus.
  • Refunds of rental fees are available if the event is cancelled at least 72 hours prior, less an administrative service fee of $100.00. In addition, other direct costs, if any, incurred by the College in preparation for the event must be paid.
  • The RISD name and address may be used to indicate event location and for directions. No other use of RISD’s name or logo in advertising is permitted without the express approval of RISD’s Media Office or General Counsel.
  • In conducting an event, each organization or student group must comply with city, state, and federal laws, as well as applicable RISD rules and regulations. In addition each organization will accept responsibility for conducting its event in accordance with standards of orderly conduct generally acceptable to the RISD community.

Rental Schedule for the RISD Auditorium

Category of Event Fee Per Day
Category I NO rental fee
RISD organizations or departments offering RISD curricular or co-curricular events. Examples include classroom instruction, visiting artists, film festivals, special lectures. Certificate of liability insurance is not needed. Subject to Direct Costs for Public Safety
Category II $750.00 for up to 8 hours
$75.00/hr thereafter
RISD co-sponsored events by off-campus organizations (e.g. Brown, The Athenaeum) Certificate of liability insurance naming RISD as an additional insured in the amount of $2 million will be needed, unless determined otherwise by the Office of Risk Management. Subject to Direct Costs for Public Safety, Custodial, A-V services
Category III $750.00 for up to 8 hours
$75.00/hr thereafter
Not-for-profit, tax exempt organizations and groups (arts, charitable organizations), or taxpayer supported (e.g. police department, fire department) Certificate of liability insurance naming RISD as an additional insured is needed in the amount of $2 million. Copy of tax exemption certificate (501 c (3)) required Subject to Direct Costs for Public Safety, Custodial, A-V services
Category IV $1500.00 for up to 8 hours
$150.00/hr thereafter
For profit organizations. Certificate of liability insurance naming RISD as an additional insured is needed in the amount of $2 million. Subject to Direct Costs
Category V $250.00
Use of Auditorium lobby for the sole purpose of bathroom facilities (Waterfire, Market Square events). Certificate of liability insurance naming RISD as an additional insured is needed in the amount of $2 million. Subject to Direct Costs

Additional Service Fees

Public Safety Detail

Contact Chief Norm Gamache 401 454-6371 or Lt. Tony Souza 401 277-4907

  • The need for a public safety office will be at the discretion of the Chief of Public Safety.
  • Four hour minimum shift per safety officer
  • Current rate for four hours is $200.00 per officer, then an hourly rate of $50.00 for each additional hour or part thereof. If this is time and a half or double time, it should be specified.
  • Cost estimates are provided prior to the event, but actual billing goes out after the event.
  • RISD groups will be charged direct costs for services provided or required. The sponsoring office's RISD budget account automatically debited for these amounts by the office providing the service, e.g. Public Safety, Media Resources, Facilities.

Audio/Visual Technical Support

Contact David Chandler or Dylan Costa 401 454-6129 in the RISD Media Resources Department

  • Only Media Resources or a firm authorized by Media Resources (such as ATR Treehouse) may operate the a/v equipment in the Auditorium or RISD facility.
  • Current rate is $60.00/hour per person (for RISD AV technicians). ($75/hr for outside AV contractor) four hour minimum. Number of people is at the discretion of Media Resources.
  • Equipment needed beyond house/stage lighting and house PA system will involve additional charges for rental. Detailed pricing available from Media Resources.
  • Refer to for Auditorium specifications

Catering Services

Contact: Linda Gustafson, RISD Catering Manager, at 401 709-8500 or

RISD Caters is the initial food service contact point for all events organized on campus. In addition, all alcohol served on campus must be provided by RISD Caters. RISD Caters will also provide a TIPS certified bartender. If RISD Caters cannot do your event, then they will authorize you to bring another caterer on campus. This alternative caterer must be licensed and they must provide their own certificate of liability insurance in the amount of $2 million, naming RISD as an additional insured.


RISD sponsors or co-sponsors: submit a work request
Non-RISD groups: contact

  • Custodial services may be required if cleanup is needed before or after an event. If the services are provided outside of normal business hours for custodians, overtime rates will apply. Custodians leave at 2pm each day, and do not work on Saturday or Sunday unless specifically hired to do so.
  • Custodial services are needed if food is to be offered in the lobby.
  • Custodial services require a 4 hour minimum. Beyond that time, the event sponsor can request continual custodial support during the event provided they are willing to pay the hourly rate. For example, a crowded event is expected and the sponsor wants someone on hand all day to deal with cleanup issues or to clean the bathrooms.
  • The current minimum charge for a one person 4 hour shift is $120.00.
  • Outside groups will be billed before or after the event, depending on whether custodial needs can be pre-determined. RISD sponsors or cosponsors will have their accounts debited after the event.
  • RISD groups will have their departmental account automatically debited by the Facilities Office.

Fire Safety Officer

Contact Chief Norm Gamache 401 454-6371 or Lt. Tony Souza 401 277-4907 for more information

  • For some events expecting a large turnout, a City of Providence fire safety officer may be required. Chief Gamache will contact you in advance of the event if this is the case. Fire safety officers serve for a minimum 4 hour shift at the rate of $65.00/hr per officer, more if a higher ranked officer is needed or used.

Reserving classrooms

To reserve a standard classroom, the fee is as listed below. The categories and procedures as listed for the auditorium apply to classroom rentals, excepting rates as follows:

Category Fee Per Hour Fee Per Day, (8) hours, hourly rate thereafter
I-RISD $0 $0
II- RISD co-sponsored $25 $125
III- Non profit $25 $125
IV- For profit $50 $250

The building access code will be provided to the principal contact in advance of the event or by Public Safety's opening and closing the building for the event.

As described above in the section on the rental of the Auditorium, a certificate of liability insurance naming RISD as an additional insured is needed in the amount of $2 million for any event either co-sponsored or fully sponsored by an off-campus group.

Snow or other emergencies

In the event of snow storm, hurricane, or other emergency, RISD facilities may be closed and unavailable for your event. RISD will make a reasonable effort to notify the person whose name is given as the event coordinator by telephone, email, or both of such a closing, and generally notifies the media when RISD will be closed on a business day; however, you should also call Public Safety at 401 454-6376 to confirm availability. RISD does not guarantee that any decision to close will be made and communicated within a time frame that suits your event, especially on Friday nights and weekends. It will be up to you to notify event participants about the cancellation. When a cancellation results from such an emergency closing, RISD will refund the rental fee in full, but any direct service costs that cannot be recovered will still be charged. If RISD remains open, but you decide to cancel the event nevertheless, the usual refund policies for cancellation will apply.

For Reservations

RISD sponsors or co-sponsors: contact or call the Registrar’s Office at 401 454-6151.

Non-RISD groups: contact or 401 454-6369.