The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit was supposed to make its world premiere in Toronto this week, but of course the COVID-19 pandemic derailed those plans. The exhibit was meant to be a 600,000-cubic-foot digital art experience featuring a selection of Van Gogh’s masterpieces.
While waiting for guidance from health officials on when it will be safe to open the original exhibit, Lighthouse Immersive, the co-producers of the event, created a drive-in concept to allow the exhibit to run while maintaining all physical distancing protocols.
“We have been working around the clock to come up with innovative approaches that will make presenting Immersive Van Gogh safe for our audiences, while keeping our artists, contractors and staff employed at their pre-COVID salaries,” said co-producer Svetlana Dvoretsky.
The reimagined Immersive Van Gogh exhibit will be a “Gogh by Car” experience that will take place from June 18 to 28 inside the historic space of the Toronto Star’s former printing presses at 1 Yonge St. Each time slot will allow for 14 cars to drive into the space, turn off their engines, and the viewers inside each vehicle will enjoy a 35-minute show featuring art, light, sound and movement. The immersive exhibit is meant to evoke the highly emotional and chaotic inner consciousness of Van Gogh.
“Presenting cultural events during this time of COVID-19 is an incredible challenge and we are saddened to see the cultural calendar in Toronto diminished as almost all arts institutions have cancelled their events and laid off their artists and staff,” said co-producer Corey Ross, who was also part of the team who brought The Art of Banksy to Toronto. “We believe in the power of art to uplift, inspire and connect communities; and it is more important than ever to offer a creative outlet for Torontonians to escape and recharge during this unprecedented global crisis.”
Tickets for the Gogh by Car experience are available at vangoghexhibit.ca. Purchasers will also receive tickets to the full scale and original walk-in experience that has been rescheduled for July 2020, though organizers are continuing to monitor the developments and will follow guidance from health officials.