The much-anticipated Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, has made its debut at Atlanta’s historical industrial complex, Pratt-Pullman Yard. Atlanta’s the first place in North America to host the exhibition, which gained international notoriety in Europe and Asia and will open around the country in the coming months. Part museum, part immersive 360-degree digital spectacle, and part hands-on activity, the show takes guests on a journey through the Dutch post-impressionist artist’s life, including his inspiration, struggles, and contributions to the art world.
While he considered a variety of cities to launch stateside, Mario Iacampo, the show’s producer and CEO of Exhibition Hub, who once lived in Atlanta, felt that it was ideal. And, while the first time he visited the 20,000-square-foot building at Pullman Yard, there were no doors on the 100-plus-year-old building and the roof was leaking, it fit his vision (and has since been repaired and is now climate-controlled).“It reminded me so much of many of the cathedrals we’ve done in Europe,” he says of the space. “[The room in] the center of the Pullman Yards building gives you that cathedral-like feeling with the high ceilings. The building adds a level of texture to the experience.” Want to see what has visitors buzzing? Here’s what you need to know before you go:
Don’t sleep on scoring a ticket
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience Atlanta will run through the end of 2021, and everyone who plans to experience it needs to have a timed reservation. There’s so much buzz around this spectacle that tickets are going fast: more than 225,000 have been sold so far. Standard tickets start at $19.10 for children and $32.20 for adults and are available at https://vangoghexpo.com/atlanta/. Digital tickets are distributed through the Fever app, available via Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
Take your time
Plan to spend up to an hour and a half soaking it in. Those interested in the educational elements may want to spend extra time reading the detailed history of Van Gogh’s life and inspiration. The pièce de résistance is the 35-minute immersive portion, which runs on a loop. Guests can find a spot in the cathedral-like center room and watch as more than 300 of Van Gogh’s works of art come alive as they’re projected onto the two-story-tall walls, set to an original score by Dutch composer Thomas Sohet. Looking for something extra? Pay a $5 upcharge (or spring for a VIP ticket) for a 10-minute virtual reality experience that takes you through a day in the artist’s life to see the places that inspired some of his most iconic paintings, including Cafe Terrace At Night and Starry Night.
What to leave behind
“I don’t like rules,” says Iacampo. “I tried to design an exhibit so that once you’ve got your tickets, you can come through at your own pace.” Still, there are a few ground rules, including no food or drink and no smoking or vaping inside the building. Photography is allowed without a flash. And small umbrella strollers are welcome, but parents are asked to forgo bringing anything larger.
Organizers have designed the experience to minimize Covid risk, including strictly limiting the building’s capacity (via timed tickets) and frequently sanitizing high-traffic areas. Guests are required to wear a mask while inside, and hand sanitizer stations are available. For the virtual reality experience, VR goggles are sanitized between uses, and guests receive a disposable google liner for extra hygiene.