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Expo setup in the YBCA Forum

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A variety of venues at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts are available for public or private presentations, performances, receptions or other special events.

Nonprofit licensing fees (community rates) are available for local San Francisco/Bay Area Performing Arts and Cultural organizations that qualify as tax exempt organizations pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Documentation of 501(c)(3) status is required for approval of fees.

Commercial Rental Rate Sheet 2014-2015

YBCA Theater
Main Auditorium & Stage $8,250
Entire Building — Special Events $10,300
Terrace Lobby $2,050
700 Howard Plaza* $500
*This space rented only in conjunction with the Theater.
Galleries and Forum Building
Grand Lobby Reception $3,100
Forum — Reception or Meeting $8,250
Entire Galleries and Forum Building $15,450
Ancillary Rooms
These rooms are rented only in conjunction with The Forum or Grand Lobby.
Screening Room $1,550
Third Street Courtyard $1,000
Youth Arts Lounge $500
701 Mission Plaza $500
Front Door Gallery $500
Conference Rooms $100

Rental Policies

Reservation & Licensing Process


Priority will be given to the scheduling of YBCA's programs and activities. The reservation and scheduling calendar is on a one-year cycle based on our fiscal year, which begins July 1 and ends June 30. Dates become open as follows:

  • Accepting applications on January 1st for the period of July 1–December 31 of the same year
  • Accepting applications on July 1st for the period of January 1–June 30 of the following year
  • Accepting tentative holds with submittal of an application beginning July 1 of the current year for events between July 1 the following year and June 30 the year past the following year.

License Fees

Nonprofit licensing fees (community rates) are available for local SF/Bay Area performing arts and cultural organizations that qualify as tax-exempt organizations pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Reservation Process

Tentative Reservations

Tentative Reservations will be held for a maximum of ten business days. If no further communications take place within those ten days, the Tentative Reservation is subject to cancellation, with notification to the applicant.


An organization may challenge a date with a previous Tentative Reservation by notifying the Event Manager and submitting a deposit of fifty percent (50%) of the estimated licensing fee for their proposed event. The Event Manager will be responsible for contacting the organization with the Tentative Reservation and informing them of the challenge. Notification may be made by telephone, letter, facsimile, or email. To keep the Tentative Reservation, the organization must submit to YBCA a deposit of fifty percent (50%) of their proposed licensing fee and execute a Short Term License Agreement within two (2) working days of such notice. If geographical or logistical considerations warrant, YBCA may waive these requirements or extend the time limit for up to five (5) days.


Organizations wishing to rent any of the facilities must first submit an application for a Short Term License Agreement (STLA). Reservations will be confirmed after application approval and the full execution of the STLA by both YBCA and the licensee.

Applicants with Outstanding Debts

Applicants with outstanding debts to YBCA must clear those debts before their application will be reviewed or considered.


Applications are reviewed for approval by YBCA. All proposed uses must conform to provisions in this policy.

Fundraising Activities

The facilities shall not be used for fundraising purposes without written authorization from YBCA's Executive Director. A letter on organization letterhead must be submitted to YBCA stating the purpose and benefactors of the proposed fundraising activity.

Confirmation of Short Term License Agreement

YBCA will notify an applicant of approval as the dates become open (see Scheduling above). Within two weeks of approval of an application, YBCA generates a Short Term License Agreement (STLA) for the licensee. Licensees shall return the signed STLA within the allotted time to ensure reservation date(s). When returning the STLA, the licensee must also submit any necessary deposits. Short Term License Agreements shall be considered "fully executed" only after both YBCA and the licensee have reviewed and signed the agreement. Events may not be publicly announced, nor tickets sold until a fully executed agreement has been completed.

Payment Schedule

Community Rentals

A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the basic licensing fees (BLF) is required upon execution of the agreement. The remainder of the BLF must be paid no later than two (2) month before the event. If the license arrangements are made within three (3) months of the event, all fees must be submitted with the signed license agreement by the specified return date. In any case, all deposits must be paid no less than ten (10) business days prior to the event.

Commercial Rentals

A non-refundable reservation deposit equal to 50% of the basic licensing fee is required upon receipt of the Short Term License Agreement application (STLA) to secure tentative facility rental date holds. The deposit will apply towards rental costs for the dates specified. If your application for an STLA is not approved, the deposit will be refunded within thirty days of notice of non-approval. Lack of approval is the only reason for which a reservation deposit may be refunded. Payment should be made by company, corporate or cashier's check, payable to "Yerba Buena YBCA for the Arts." Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are acceptable forms of payment after completion of the Credit Card Authorization form.


Events canceled with more than two (2) months notice are subject to forfeiture of up to fifty percent (50%) of the basic licensing fees, and any direct costs incurred (for additional information about cancellation, see Code Compliance and Protection of Facilities).

Events canceled less than two (2) months before the first scheduled date of an event will be subject to forfeiture of all deposited fees and all direct costs incurred by YBCA.

Additional Personnel and Equipment

No later than ten (10) business days before the event, licensees shall post a deposit in the form of a company, certified or cashier's check, credit card, cash bond, or a bond from a bonding company licensed under the laws of the State of California, to guarantee payment of estimated expenses in connection with the event. Estimated expenses may include, but are not limited to: stage technicians, house staff, security officers, janitorial staff, cleanup and special equipment.

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 Licensees are required to have Comprehensive General Liability Insurance coverage, in amounts not less than $1 million, in effect during their entire use of the facilities. Licensees are also required to have Workers' Compensation in amounts of $1 million per accident. A Certificate of Insurance is required, naming the following as additional insured:

Yerba Buena YBCA for the Arts; the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency; MJM Management Group; Yerba Buena Arts and Events; the City and County of San Francisco and their officers, agents and employees. The serving of alcoholic beverages requires liquor liability insurance in amounts of not less than $1 million (see Alcoholic Beverage Service).

General Facility Use Policies

These policies and procedures pertain to the use of YBCA's facilities by licensees and their employees, volunteers, agents, vendors, subcontractors, and other representatives.


There shall be no discrimination against or segregation of any person or group of persons on account of race, color, religion or creed, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation, age, marital or domestic partner status, political affiliation or disability (including HIV or AIDS status) in the use or licensing of the Licensed Facilities, nor shall the Licensee or any person claiming under or through the Licensee, establish or permit any such practice or practices of discrimination or segregation with reference to the selection, location, number, use or occupancy of Licensee, patrons, lessees, or vendees of YBCA's Facilities or any parts thereof.

Protection of Facilities

Licensees shall be responsible for the payment of any special costs necessary for maintaining order, security, public health, safety, and protection of the facilities. Potential security concerns may result in suspending an event until security arrangements are approved in writing by the San Francisco Police Department and the licensee agrees to pay for additional measures. YBCA may also cancel or interrupt an event which threatens damage to property or injury to persons in or near the facilities.

In no case shall licensees permit physical alteration of the facilities without YBCA's permission. Alterations include and are not limited to painting; adhesion, connection, or suspension from or on walls, ceilings, battens, floors, etc.; and removal or repositioning of furnishings, fixtures, or equipment.

Code Compliance

Users of the facilities and their subcontractors are required to comply with requirements of all state and federal regulations, as well as ordinances and regulations of the City and County of San Francisco, including Safety and Health, Fire and Life Safety, and all other applicable laws. Events may be subject to cancellation for noncompliance with codes.


City mandates prohibit smoking anywhere inside YBCA's facilities, as well as smoking anywhere near doorways which might enable smoke to enter the facilities.

Electrical Outlets

To avoid overloading of an electrical outlet's capacity all electrical distribution plans require YBCA's pre-approval.


In no case shall event attendance exceed the established capacity of the facilities. Licensees may not admit a larger number of persons than can safely and freely move about the facilities; the decision of YBCA and/or the San Francisco Fire Department in this respect shall be final.


All events, as applicable, require proof of permits (e.g., fire, health, cooking, alcohol, and sound) indicating code compliance

Public Right of Way

YBCA's facilities are open to the public during specific hours and the priority during this time is to serve the public. The public has priority of access during regular business hours in the public areas (Galleries, lobbies, restrooms, etc.). Special events shall not be scheduled to begin prior to one (1) hour after the closing of the Galleries.

Access to entrances, exits, doorways, information desk, and ticket sales windows must be free and clear of obstructions at all times.

Recording, Filming, Photography and Broadcasts

Any reproduction of events within the facilities is subject to prior approval by YBCA. This includes but is not limited to video or audio recording; motion picture filming; photography; and radio, television, or Internet broadcasts. All such uses require written agreements separate from the STLA and are subject to additional fees. 

Names of all groups and/or persons authorized to use recording devices (cameras, video cameras, audio tape recorders, etc.) shall be provided to YBCA in advance of the event. Flash photography is prohibited during performances.

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Performance Information

In addition to the preceding policies, the following apply to theatrical events within YBCA's facilities.

Standard Performance Time Schedules

Lobby Access

Access for setup for all YBCA Lobbies begins when the House Manager arrives. Standard timing for the Theater lobbies is two and a half (2 ½) hours prior to curtain, and two (2) hours prior to curtain for access to the Grand Lobby (confirm time with your Event Coordinator). Earlier setups are possible by special arrangement. Setup should be complete prior to times when areas are open to the public.

House Access

The House (seating area) opens 30 minutes prior to curtain. YBCA's House Manager shall be responsible for pronouncing the House "open," in consultation with the technical staff and the licensee. Under no circumstances shall the House open without the House Manager's authorization.

Running Time

The licensee shall provide the Event Coordinator with a running time schedule no later than 48 hours prior to event.

Usher Orientations

In order for YBCA House Staff to be properly prepared for the event, the House Manager conducts the following orientations:

  • Staff Usher orientations: two (2) hours prior to curtain inside the House
  • Volunteer Usher orientations: one (1) hour prior to curtain inside the House

Rehearsals involving sound checks or other amplified sound should be scheduled around these orientations whenever possible.

Opening and Start of Performance

Lobby access to ticket windows shall be available to the public 90 minutes prior to curtain time. Seating begins 30 minutes prior to performance, unless prior arrangements are made. Events are to start according to the scheduled and published start times.


For the convenience of our patrons, every public performance of at least two (2) hours in duration shall have an intermission of not less than twenty (20) minutes, unless the nature of a performance prevents this, in which case, advertising materials shall indicate that the performance has no intermission.

Backstage Access

Only authorized personnel have access to backstage areas. Performers, crew, and company personnel shall enter and exit through the stage door. Licensees shall provide a list of all persons authorized to enter YBCA's stage door no later than 48 hours prior to the performance date of access.

Every person, including performers and company personnel, must have a ticket to the seating areas of the House for the purposes of watching the performance. We ask that you make arrangements to meet post-performance guests outside the stage door rather than in the seating areas or lobbies.

House Programs

Program inserts must be delivered no later than twenty four (24) hours prior to your first performance. For events in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, delivery shall be to the Theater coat check. For the Forum, deliver to the Grand Lobby coat check. The House Manager will designate who distributes these materials.

Public Safety Notices

All programs distributed in connection with any public events at YBCA's facilities must contain the following safety notice along with an exiting diagram for the facility in which the event is scheduled: 

  • The exit indicated by the illuminated sign nearest your seat is the shortest route to the street. Please note these exits. In an emergency, WALK, do not run

Merchandising Setup

Merchandise sales — e.g., T-shirts, CDs, or novelties — require approval at least one (1) week in advance and shall be set up no later than one (1) hour prior to curtain.

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Event Information

YBCA's professional staff will coordinate with every licensee to ensure smooth event execution. YBCA requests cooperation, courtesy, and patience from the sponsors of these events when planning logistical details. Additionally, YBCA requests the licensee's assistance in complying with the following regulations and procedures for rental events in YBCA's facilities.

YBCA Event Staffing

  • House Staff: YBCA has a working agreement with I.A.T.S.E. Local B-18 for house managers and staff ushers. They will function as ushers, ticket takers, coatroom attendants and assist with emergency evacuations. The House Manager is present during the event and oversees all front-of-house activity and personnel and ensures enforcement of all YBCA policies.
  • Technical Crew: YBCA has three (3) full-time technicians in house and a working agreement with I.A.T.S.E. Local 16 for technical services. The scope of your event determines the crew that is on hand for your event. You will be given an estimate of the costs for technical crew by your Event Coordinator.
  • Security: Basic building security is included in the basic rental fee. If your event requires additional security, you will be billed for the costs.
  • Janitorial: Basic janitorial services are included in the rental fee. If your event requires additional janitorial services, you will be billed for the costs.

Supplemental staffing requests are negotiable. All stage technicians, house managers, staff ushers, security officers, janitors, and Box Office personnel shall be under the management and control of YBCA, supplied at the expense of the licensee.

YBCA house staff is not available to lift, carry, or move anything that is not YBCA property.

Licensee Event Staffing

Licensee required to provide a principal event representative who is responsible for running the event and will be onsite for the duration of the event.

Pre-Event Walkthrough

A pre-event site tour prior to the event shall include YBCA's Event Coordinator and a representative from YBCA production department, the licensee's event planner, and caterer to discuss the following:

  • On-site/production schedule for the event (i.e., load-in, rehearsal, show time, strike, load-out, etc.)
  • Floor and traffic flow plan(s) including schedule of loading dock use
  • Special technical requirements (e.g., A/V, catering equipment, telecommunications, etc.)
  • Planning for decor and cleanup
  • A list of participating vendors

Licensee must provide all final details to YBCA in writing at least 48 hours prior to the event. On the day of the event, the House Manager shall lead an additional walkthrough inspection prior to setup.

Venue and Building Access Times

No access can be permitted without prior arrangement with YBCA's Events Staff. Facility fees are based on the following access times (access may be available at other times, subject to additional fees):

  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater: 8 am–11:30 pm
  • Forum: 8 am–11:30 pm
  • Grand Lobby
    Monday: 8 am–11:30 pm
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 8 am–noon and 5 pm–11:30 pm
    Thursday: 8 am–noon and 8pm–11:30 pm
  • Screening Room: 8 am–11:30 pm

*Subject to change.

Setup Time

Setup — e.g., caterers, concessions — may not begin in any public spaces prior to the closing of those public spaces without payment of additional fees and written approval from YBCA. The event coordinator shall specify the time, location, and limits for early setup.


YBCA does not provide parking. Sometimes street parking is available on Third Street; however, please pay attention to the posted parking regulations. Paid parking is available in several nearby lots or garages. For a list, please contact your Event Coordinator.

There is no parking permitted in the loading dock or on the walkways in and around YBCA. After deliveries or pickups are made, all vehicles must leave the loading dock area — without exception.

Additional parking and transit information is available upon request.

Loading Docks

Forum (Receiving) Dock:

  • Located near the corner of Third and Mission at 130 Third Street.
  • Dock is 3.5 feet high with no lift to upper level from ground.
  • Push buzzer to speak with Security for entry.
  • The loading docks are for loading and unloading only, parking is not permitted

Forum Vestibule Door:

  • Available for manual loading activity by arrangement. No vehicles are allowed on the property at any time.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater (Receiving) Dock:

  • Located near the corner of Third and Howard at 170 Third Street.
  • Dock is 4 feet high with no lift to upper level from the ground.

Access to the Theater (Receiving) Dock requires prior arrangements with the event coordinator.

Theater security is unavailable except when scheduled for an event.

Loading in or out through the lobbies of either building is not permitted without prior arrangement with your Event Coordinator.


  • Event delivery schedules require YBCA's prior approval. All deliveries must be received at the designated dock.
  • Licensees are responsible for arranging appropriate personnel or equipment for loading, unloading, or transporting of their deliveries. No deliveries are permitted prior to the licensee's arrival on site, except with special pre-authorization.
  • YBCA staff will not unload, count or check-in delivered items. YBCA staff may accept, but shall not be responsible for pre-approved deliveries prior to the event sponsor's arrival on site.
  • Technical crew is responsible for moving all technical production equipment to and from YBCA's loading docks.
  • Licensee may not block any doors at any time and maintain sufficient clearance through halls and other access ways at all times.


All working event personnel must first check in with Security at the following locations when entering YBCA's buildings:

  • Galleries and Forum Security: Loading (Receiving) Dock of Galleries and Forum Building (located at 130 Third Street)
  • Theater Security: Stage Door of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater (located on north side of building, opposite East Garden fountains and across Third street from SFMOMA)

Clients, with prior approval, may provide event badges to be worn during these authorized access times.


All caterers must obtain pre-approval by YBCA. Prior to approval, caterers must review the facilities and policies pertaining to catering activity with the Event Coordinator, including the opportunities and limitations within the facilities. Caterers shall be responsible for participating in pre-event and post-event walkthrough inspections.

Open Flame and Fuel Permits

  • Use or storage of Propane is prohibited inside YBCA Facilities.
  • Cooking is permitted in designated areas with fire permits issued by the San Francisco Fire Department. A copy of the permit must be given to YBCA's event coordinator prior to event. All outside fire passages must remain obstruction free.
  • Votive candles require an open flame permit from the San Francisco Fire Department.

Equipment to Bring

When planning an event involving food, licensees shall provide or have the caterer provide the following equipment:

  • dollies/hand trucks
  • floor mats for bars and prep areas
  • tables and chairs for use with food or beverage (including prep and serving areas as well as guest seating)
  • trash cans
  • cleaning equipment: mops, rags, brooms, etc.

Busing Food/Beverages/Glasses

Licensees and/or caterers shall provide for continuous removal of food, beverages, and/or glasses throughout an event to prevent breakage and spillage or accumulation of foodstuffs.

Bars and Beverages

  • To protect the floors and carpet, mats are required under all bars, ice containers, or areas utilizing liquids and over carpet under prep areas
  • Ice disposal is permitted in janitorial closet sinks
  • Red wine or other stainable beverages (e.g., coffee, juices, etc.) are not permitted in carpeted areas
  • Bottles, glasses, and cans may not be issued to the general public. Glassware use for limited-access or private events is permissible depending upon the nature of the activity, subject to prior approval
  • Food and beverages are not permissible within Galleries or art display areas

Alcoholic Beverage Service

All alcoholic beverage services require YBCA's approval. YBCA requires the sponsoring organization to show evidence of liquor liability insurance (refer to Insurance) and a permit issued by the State of California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). Guests may not take alcohol outside of any YBCA buildings, except when prior arrangements and approval are granted for a Forum event extending into the East Garden.

Tables and Chairs

  • Do not leave tables stacked, collapsed, or leaning against walls in public areas, halls, or access ways
  • Avoid dropping or dragging tables or equipment across the floors, or banging items against the walls
  • Keep tables and chairs at least three (3) feet away from the walls and at least six (6) feet away from the doors
  • YBCA's chairs are not available for events serving food and beverages


Tent setup(s) require 1) prior approval by YBCA's event coordinator in consultation with YBCA and MJM Management Group; and 2) a permit from the San Francisco Fire Department.

Fire Exits/Egress

  • Do not block any doors, entrances, or exits at any time
  • Do not use areas under stairwells for storage at any time
  • The Forum backspace is a designated fire exit, and must be kept clear. It is not available for prep space when events are held simultaneously in the Forum and the Grand Lobby/Galleries unless clear and sufficient access is maintained throughout


  • All use of props or decorations requires approval by the event coordinator at least one (1) month prior to the event setup and shall be in compliance with fire safety codes
  • Decorations and signage may not be fastened to any walls, ceilings, or exhibits inside the buildings without YBCA's permission
  • No signage advertising the event or the sponsoring organization is allowed outside. Directional signage is permissible by prior arrangement and may be no more than 3 feet wide by 4 feet high but may be up to 4 sided
  • No decor may be pre-placed in any public areas during YBCA's regular business hours
  • Depending on the scope of your decoration/signage setup, you may be required to use YBCA's technical crew

Cleanup Procedures

Plans for cleanup require approval by the event coordinator at least one (1) week prior to the event. Facilities shall be restored to conditions found prior to use. Complete clean-up by midnight unless prior arrangements have YBCA's approval Additional charges of $150 per hour (or portion thereof) may be incurred for time after midnight.


At the end of each event:

  • Place all cans and glass bottles in blue recycling containers YBCA provides and then empty them into designated bins in the trash room
  • Make arrangements for the removal of bottles and cans if they do not fit into the containers provided
  • Break down all boxes and place in the trash room

Dumpsters and Trash

One dumpster is available per venue. Deposit trash or debris in the appropriate dumpster at the end of each event. If additional dumpsters are needed, please make arrangements with YBCA for delivery on the day of the event and pick up the following day.

Leave all trash in the dumpsters. Keep event spaces, lobbies or service areas clear of all trash and debris. Do not mix trash or debris with recycling. Pick up all non-sweepable items from the floor.


The Licensee is responsible for all of their ice needs as YBCA does not provide any ice. Dispose of ice only in janitorial closet sinks.

Prep Areas

Sweep and mop cooking and food prep areas.

Borrowed Items

In the event that anything has been borrowed from YBCA, return item(s) to the House Manager or the security office at the end of the event.


  • Due to YBCA's space limitations and quick turnaround between events, equipment rentals and other items must be picked up/taken away immediately after each event
  • Event coordinators may approve pickup from the loading dock no later than 9 am the following morning
  • A charge of $120 per day may be incurred for items (equipment, etc.) not removed by 9 am the following day
  • Store items neatly and compactly — without obstructing doors, hallways and fire passages
  • YBCA is not responsible for items left in YBCA's facilities

Post-Event Walkthrough

  • Contact the House Manager when cleanup is completed for a final inspection of all areas used
  • If areas are found in unsatisfactory condition, subsequent cleanup will be required and may be subject to additional fees