As you walk through the immersive Van Gogh exhibit in West Sacramento, you might feel like a kid again – seeing the world in a new light.
“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” offers insight into the life and work of the Dutch Post-Impressionist artist. It surrounds you – the relaxing, almost meditative music – and connects you to Vincent through 21st century digital media.
The immersive art exhibit, one of two visiting the Sacramento area this year, is scheduled to open Thursday and run through October. Exhibition Hub Entertainment is hosting the educational and interactive exhibit in a former gymnasium at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and 15th Street.
Exhibition Hub Entertainment has created an interactive educational experience by merging the traditional gallery experience with new digital aspects. The exhibit, which was postponed last week, is at 31 15th St.
West Sacramento will be one of the first three cities to host the new version of the screening sequence. This version has been “sewn together” to highlight Van Gogh’s life and work through movement and sound. It’s been airing in other cities since 2018 and is meant to be an individualized experience – socially distanced so audiences can “appreciate the magnitude of the work.
“It takes immersion to another level. We see the world through his eyes,” said John Zaller, executive producer at Exhibition Hub for US shows.
The bee visited the exhibit on Tuesday morning alongside other local media. It was reminiscent of a childhood excursion to the art museum and aquarium combined – the viewer immersed in a sea of blue and yellow brushstrokes. The setup – like a black box theater – was chill enough to give you goosebumps. Here’s what you can expect inside:
The story of Vincent van Gogh
The first section features tribute images projected onto large sculptures.
Van Gogh’s head bust could almost fit on Mount Rushmore. It is the figure of Van Gogh, with circulating projections of his famous self-portraits, housed in a black box that imprisons the periphery. Opposite the room, an iconic vase features a similar display, with flowers projected onto it.
In this space, visitors will find information on the life of the artist, replicas of his paintings as well as a silent and subtitled documentary.
A place to take a selfie
Many parts of the exhibit are social media friendly, created with selfies in mind. Here you will find the hallway with sunflowers, Van Gogh’s bedroom, the deconstructed “courtesan” and a mirrored room with sunflowers.
Zaller calls the immersive 35-minute experience a “crown jewel.” Van Gogh’s working life is edited together to tell the story of his mental health struggles and how he drew beauty from the world around him.
When you’re in the room there are beach chairs and rugs to sit on and the projections extend from the walls to the floors.
Ashley Tapia, Managing Director of Exhibition Hub, said she suggests sitting in different places in the venue to fully experience it.
Exhibition Hub is looking for a yoga instructor to lead a class in the immersive room. They are also open to hosting private events, Tapia said.
Enter the living room
Be part of the traveling show as you color or draw freely in the style of Van Gogh. You can take your art home, pin it to the wall, or scan it to be featured in this part of the show “forever,” organizers said.
Be Van Gogh with Virtual Reality
You will also have the chance to walk around in the shoes of Van Gogh while listening to a narration of letters that Vincent wrote to his brother via a 360 virtual reality headset. When you turn your head, you are able to look around the world virtual. The animation takes you into a vacation landscape, with mountain and forest landscapes.
“We really outdid ourselves by offering virtual reality at the end,” Zaller said.
If you’re wondering how someone can be so engrossed in video games, this exhibit will make sense.
This feature is open to VIP ticket holders and costs an additional $5 for general admission.
Logistics: Tickets and parking
General admission and VIP tickets are on sale for children and adults. Discounts for seniors, students, military and groups are available. Adult Van Gogh ticket prices range from $34.90 to $54.50.
Tickets are sold in half-hour increments to maintain 25% building capacity. Attendees typically stay between 60 and 90 minutes, with occasional “love” stragglers, Zaller said.
You can buy tickets online through Fever. However, customers have repeatedly complained about the ticketing company, citing communication difficulties before the show’s original opening day and ticket refunds.
Zaller previously told The Bee that he was aware of the issues consumers were having, but added that “in all cases where there has been any concern from a guest, Fever has addressed this issue very quickly.And Fever has an excellent track record in responding to customer concerns.
The Better Business Bureau asked Fever to voluntarily cooperate and address complaint patterns last year. The company responded to the office, detailing steps it is taking or will take to address the issues, including increasing the number of support team employees and changing policies for scheduled events.
As of March 2022, BBB was still noting persistent issues with customer service.
The unshaded parking lot can accommodate about 20 cars or less, with a sharp turn onto 15th Street.
Zaller said plans are underway with the city to use public parking lots.
He said valet parking options are in the works. The city plans to add more JUMP bicycles and electric scooters for visitors to travel from the public parking lot 800 meters away.
The city also works with the exhibit to promote West Sacramento.
Mayor Martha Guerrero previously told The Bee, “We are providing information to highlight locations for attendees of Van Gogh’s immersive exhibit to dine and enjoy additional opportunities in the city.
Employees also need parking, and the company is currently looking across the street for unused land, said employee Randy Campos.
Hanh Truong of The Bee contributed to this story.
This story was originally published June 29, 2022 5:00 a.m.