The experiential digital Van Gogh exhibit that has been overwhelming your social media feed has finally made its way to Washington, and if the lines at opening day are any indication, you’re going to need to make your plans to Gogh ASAP.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is one of a couple of large-scale Van Gogh events traveling the United States. The popularity and style of Van Gogh’s work is one reason for this — the fact that his paintings are now a part of the public domain might also play into it — but the edutainment company Exhibition Hub that puts on this one has actually been delighting audiences since 2017 in Europe.
Alongside successful runs in Atlanta, New York, Miami, and Las Vegas, DC is now experiencing Van Gogh in grand scale through a massive digital art exhibit at Edgewood/Rhode Island Center/Bryant Street. What was formerly a big box retailer has now transitioned into a hub for leisure and cultural facilities, located just minutes away from one of the District’s latest growing neighborhoods.
Guests will explore all aspects of Van Gogh seeing more than 300 of the post-Impressionist genius’s sketches, drawings, and paintings. There are gallery-like portions, participatory drawing studios, and digital projections that are suitable for all ages, and placards do provide fascinating information on the artist’s life, work, and legacy.
The room you’ll want to linger in, however, is the great room featuring massive 360-degree floor-to-ceiling digital projections of Van Gogh’s art, and that brings these pieces to life through state-of-the-art video mapping technology. A full cycle of the work lasts around 40 minutes, but the movement (and magic!) is so mesmerizing that you can easily lose yourself here for much longer.
A separate gallery (and add-on fee) includes the 10 minute VR Experience, which truly sets this exhibit apart, where participants will journey through a day in the life of the artist — not seeing what he eats, drinks, and does, but how his own perceptions of what happens around him inspire everything he creates. This is a truly incredible part of the experience, so while this adds considerably to the ticket expense, don’t skip it if at all possible! The VR journey provides the chance to discover what is behind some of Van Gogh’s most beloved and iconic works, including Vincent’s Bedroom at Arles and Starry Night Over The Rhone River.
Additionally, all ticket holders will also receive access to the interactive landing page for the exhibit, which enhances the overall experience, allowing guests to explore the story behind the exhibit and enjoy online activities. These include 360 degree panoramas, created from Van Gogh artworks that allow you to explore the surroundings and environment of Van Gogh himself; visual trivia that can be answered from the information, and fun facts that appear on the website; and a “download” section with templates of Van Gogh’s main artworks to color.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience offers free parking, though the Rhode Island Ave Metro Stop is a quick and easy walk. The exhibit is open weekdays 10 AM – 8 PM and weekends/holidays 9 AM – 9 PM. Tickets, starting at $34.90 for adults and #19.90 for children are available here.