Recently, a new client asked us for a list of suggested event venues for an upcoming convening. Their criteria included BIPOC-owned, reasonably priced, retreat-like feel, grounded in place and/or history, and environmentally friendly.
This brought up a larger question for us: what does it mean to host and be hosted? When we plan events (from internal team meetings to multi-day international conferences) we think about how space becomes a container for possibility. Content matters, but so does the ability to feel comfortable and relaxed, to meet in small groups and large, to connect with nature, the arts, and community, sustainable practices, and support for like-minded businesses and organizations. While this sounds like a tall order, it’s really an opportunity to put our money where our mouth is - to leverage our collective economic power towards our guiding principles.
Since this particular client also asked for a warm-weather venue, this post will focus on venues we like in the Southern United States. We’ll write other posts that cover our favorites in other parts of the USA and internationally.
Black Iris Gallery, Richmond, VA. This art gallery and social club hosted Tressie McMillan Cottom’s 2019 Datum UnConference, where I presented our Principles of Data for the first time. “Black Iris aims to reconnect disjointed publics and weave together new ways of community engagement, sensing, building, thinking and acting.”
The Cloth Mill, Hillsboro, NC. Chic, upscale wedding and corporate event center.
Le Musee' de f.p.c., New Orleans, LA. This museum and event space is dedicated to the history of free people of color (f.p.c.) in New Orleans.
Penn Center Conference Center, St. Helena, SC. Penn Center celebrates the legacy of the Gullah people and was the first school founded for black people in the area.
San Carlos Institute, Key West, FL. Event space celebrating Cuban culture and the cradle of the early Cuban independence movement. Now a multi-purpose facility that serves as a museum, library, art gallery, theater, and school.
Maps Production House, Miami, FL. Photography and film studio with event space.
Do you have favorites? Tell us about them!