I found out about the American Visionary Art Museum from ScrittiKitty on Indiebride’s Kvetch forums. Although AVAM is in Baltimore, which is a bit out of the way for me and my guests, I really liked it because of the unique character of the location. According to AVAM, “Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.” (I had to chuckle when I read that because it reminded me of the Ceci N’est Pas Une King of the Hill episode of King of the Hill when Peggy builds the Probot.)
I had my hopes up because the facilities rental information on the website says that “AVAM is capable of hosting events from small intimate dinner parties to large scale receptions.” Awesome! My 50 guest wedding is like an intimate dinner party, right?
I contacted Alicia Karoll who is the Facility Rental Coordinator at American Visionary Art Museum (and apparently the President of National Association of Catering Executives, Baltimore Chapter) about rental fees.
She said that AVAM does host weddings and that the Sculpture Barn and the Wildflower Garden would be suitable locations for a wedding ceremony and reception. The Barn may be a bit big (its capacity is 125 people), but should work fine.
Sculpture Barn

We could get married either on the staircase in the museum or out in the Wildflower Garden.

This looked like the perfect place. Unfortunately, it charges a not-so-perfect fee. The 2008 facility rental fee for the space is $3,000, which includes rental of the Sculpture Barn for the reception, the ceremony either on the staircase or in the Wildflower Garden, and access to the exhibit in the main building for all guests. Also, you can only use caterers from their approved caterer list. (I hate the restriction of the approved caterer list, so much potential for kickbacks.) I asked if we could just rent the Wildflower Garden or limit access to just the Barn, but AVAM doesn’t have that flexibility. $3,000 is a fair price for a wedding with 125 guests, but not for 50. Once again, I’ve been thwarted by the one size fits all pricing.
I asked Alicia if she knew of any other unique venues that would be suitable for my small wedding. She referred me to The Elm. I haven’t contacted them yet, but based on the advertised rates on The Elm’s site, I don’t believe it will work out either. 😦