Everything You Need to Know About ATL's New Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
Get tickets while you still can.
Whether you’re a certified art buff, a kid in grade school, or a legal-age Atlantan who only ends up at the High Museum of Art when there’s cocktails involved, you probably feel all too familiar with Vincent van Gogh. But no matter which of those categories you exist in, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will make you feel more engaged with one of the most gifted, troubled, and celebrated artists of all time.
The insanely popular experience currently has exhibitions across America—including cities such as New York, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C. to name a few—and throughout Europe, and this summer, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience made its way to Atlanta. Organized by Exhibition Hub and Fever, the virtual reality and video-based exhibit has been selling out tickets with ease over the past several weeks, so I recently paid it a visit to see what all the hype was about.
Going into it, I didn’t know much of what to expect. Prior to my visit, I had only seen pictures of people wearing VR headsets and shots of the admittedly breathtaking projection room. As a result, I was under the impression that it would be more of a passive, sit-down viewing experience rather than a more traditional museum exhibition, but there's much more to it than that.
My trip to Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience consisted of four parts: an intriguing walk-through of Vincent van Gogh’s life and artistry, an awe-inspiring 360 video projection experience, a goofy—slightly less impressive—DIY arts and crafts session, and a stunning virtual reality simulation.
As someone who has visited the Louvre several days in a row, I was hoping that there would be a traditional museum aspect to the Van Gogh exhibit, and my prayers were immediately answered after checking in at the front desk. From a timeline of Van Gogh’s life, explanations about the repetitive nature of his work, a graphic highlighting the lack of commercial success during his lifetime, there was a huge amount of information and vibrant imagery positioned across the walls. The walk-through section primarily consists of two large rooms, and although it wasn’t long, per se, it served as an excellent primer. Whether it was about Van Gogh’s infamous self-mutilation of his ear or his life in an asylum in Southern France, the insightful wall text was an ideal precursor to the main attraction: the 360º digital projection room.
Walking into the projection room, it was clear that the pictures didn’t do this part of the Van Gogh attraction justice.The exhibit’s website wasn’t lying when it said the experience is like stepping into a Van Gogh painting. Every inch of that sprawling room was lit with Van Gogh’s artwork, and there were people sitting on benches, lying down on rugs, and sitting against the walls—all gazing intently at the magnificent display. Most of the information that was included in the wall text in the first part of the exhibit was now being creatively displayed through aesthetically pleasing video projections.
After witnessing things like Van Gogh’s tendency to paint damn-near identical works of art over and over from a brand new perspective in the projection, I headed over to the next part of the exhibit—the arts & crafts room. This kid-friendly section of the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is essentially a coloring book station, but honestly, I wasn’t mad at it. Instead of just leaving the attraction after that stunning projection presentation, I got to channel my creativity and fresh inspiration by picking up a blank version of one of Van Gogh’s paintings and coloring it in. Starry Night, Sunflowers, The Bedroom, and Café Terrace were all available to choose from, and while my coloring job on Café Terrace wasn’t worth showing anyone, there was the option for guests to upload their work for everyone else to see.
I was far more excited for the final part of my visit than figuring out how to put my remedial artwork on display, so I moved on to the virtual reality experience. After handing me a cloth eye mask, an attendant helped me put on a headset and started the virtual reality experience. Without giving too much away about it, the VR simulation is flat-out beautiful. It features a Vincent van Gogh-narrated journey through the French countryside, and throughout the VR experience, you get to marvel at Van Gogh’s ability to find inspiration in the mundane and beauty in the world around him. It was a stunning way to end an already incredible experience, and after walking out and receiving my complimentary Starry Night poster, I could without a doubt say that Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is absolutely worth it.
Here is everything you need to know before heading over to Pullman Yards to check it out for yourself.
When is the exhibit open?
Since opening in Atlanta in May, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has been making itself as accessible as possible by remaining open throughout most of the week and during the weekends. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, its hours are from 10 am to 9 pm, and on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, it is open from 9 am to 10 pm.
Where is the exhibit located?
The Van Gogh exhibit is located in the Kirkwood neighborhood at Pullman Yards Building 1, the historic core of Atlanta’s Pratt-Pullman District. Hourly parking is available onsite for $5 per hour through ParkMobile, so make sure you have that app already installed before you pull up.
How long does the experience typically last?
The Van Gogh attraction may not look like much on paper, but it is definitely a time-consuming experience. Expect to spend at least an hour at the exhibit, and if you’re not the fastest reader, it’ll probably end up being closer to a 75-minute trip. With that said, there’s a lot of knowledge to soak up at Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, so take your time.
Are there food or drinks available on-site?
There are no food or drinks available indoors at the Van Gogh experience, but there are vendors located outside of the attraction. During my visit, Golda Kombucha was one of the local businesses who were offering refreshments, and I was able to take home cans of its delicious Botanical Cream Soda and Hibiscus Blood Orange Kombuchas. In addition to Golda, there were also booths where you could order alcoholic beverages like beer and cocktails.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is wheelchair accessible! Furthermore, to ensure that all visitors are as safe as possible given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, masks are mandatory within the experience for everyone.
How do I buy tickets?
Available via Fever, each ticket will grant you entry to the exhibition and online access to The Van Gogh Studio. Standard tickets are $35.40 for adults, $24.50 for children ages 4 to 12, and $26.70 for students, seniors, and military. VIP tickets—which include the VR experience and a complimentary poster—are priced at $52.30 for adults and $41.40 for children. The first thing that you’ll likely notice when going to buy tickets is that this exhibit sells out really fast, so just keep in mind that you may have to plan your visit a couple of weeks (and maybe even a month) out in advance.