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The Short Version: Couples often have a long list of routine date activities, including dinners, movies, and walks in the park. Even trips to museums and art shows can start to become old after a while. But Immersive Van Gogh Chicago offers a captivating experience that daters won’t soon forget. The immersive digital art exhibit brings visitors into some of Van Gogh’s most famous works of art. Even couples who know Van Gogh’s work well can have a unique experience at Immersive Van Gogh Chicago.
Couples looking for fun date activities know how tricky it can be to find something different. Dinners, movies, and walks in the park can all get boring after a while, and even a trip to the museum can get stale if the art exhibit doesn’t change often.
Finding a new and exciting activity that gives couples something to talk about long after the date is over is not as easy as it sounds. Immersive Van Gogh Chicago is about as unique as it gets.
The interactive and immersive digital art exhibit is unlike any other Van Gogh experience, and it is visiting the United States for the first time. The blockbuster show is from the same creators as the original in Paris that more than 2 million people viewed. It’s also still on display for tourists and residents in Toronto.
“We had the privilege of seeing a very similar exhibit in Paris and Toronto last year,” said Jessica Johnston, General Manager of Immersive Van Gogh Chicago. “When we saw the excitement that the city of Toronto had, we started asking about what other cities we wanted to bring this experience to. Chicago made sense because it’s such a beautiful city with a community that embraces arts and culture.”
Unlike a traditional art gallery, visitors walk through the exhibits, not past them. Paintings don’t hang on the walls, and there are no ropes stopping couples from getting too close.
Instead, Immersive Van Gogh visitors experience the artist’s paintings from within. That allows couples to connect more deeply with art, and each other, on date night.
Jessica said the team behind Immersive Van Gogh Chicago is a Canadian company formed in 2019 called Lighthouse Immersive. The company oversees all of the Immersive Van Gogh experiences throughout North America.
The Chicago experience was developed by the creative team at Maestro Arts Management. It adapted the exhibit to an immersive art space in the Windy City. The Chicago production team is also run mostly by women.
The team includes Corey Ross, Svetlana Dvoretsky, Slava Zheleznyakov, Maria Shclover, and Irina Shabshis. Together, they combined their experience in producing shows in a variety of media — music, theater, and the fine arts.
“It’s interesting to me, as a woman, that three of our producers are also female because it brings a wonderful dynamic to have strong women at the helm,” Jessica said.
The artistic director is Massimiliano Siccardi, who studied at the London School of Contemporary Dance. Visitors may notice how Van Gogh’s art dances around them, and the experience involves video scenography with a modern yet timeless feel.
Italian composer and pianist Luca Longobardi incorporated electronic music into the work, and Vittorio Guidotti produced the video. Visitors can also safely enjoy the immersive multimedia art around others. That is especially important to many couples as the U.S. continues to fight the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibit’s social distancing and safety protocols keep guests safe while they enjoy memorable dates.
Some singles may feel intimidated by a date to the museum because they want to intelligently discuss the experience with their date. The Immersive Van Gogh Chicago experience is different from any other art experience visitors may have had, whether they have never been to an art museum or they love art and frequent galleries.
Jessica said the exhibit is accessible to everyone, and the audience does tend to skew slightly female, ranging in age from 19 to 45. Individuals and couples who are considering a trip don’t have to be traditional art lovers.
The installation ranges from sunny landscapes to portraits and still life paintings, including Van Gogh’s “Les Mangeurs de pommes de terre” (“The Potato Eaters,” 1885), “La Nuit étoilée” (“The Starry Night,” 1889), “Les tournesols” (“Sunflowers,” 1888), and “La Chambre à coucher” (“The Bedroom,” 1889).
“There are no limitations to enjoying this art,” Jessica said. “Most purchases come from Chicago. With every neighborhood, there’s a sliding scale of ticket costs. It’s accessible from the money perspective, as well.”
That also makes it a great date opportunity. Many couples purchase tickets online and are surprised by the entire experience. It begins by walking into a beautiful neoclassical building that has been transformed into a hub of classic Van Gogh masterpieces.
In the basic package, visitors go into one of four separate viewing areas. There, they can become entirely absorbed by the “world of Van Gogh, into the brush strokes and the beauty and the madness,” Jessica said.
Couples can extend their date by grabbing something to eat and drink at the exhibit’s café, called Grab and Gogh, naturally. Visitors can get a cup of coffee and a Stroopwafel, a Van Gogh-themed éclair, or even a glass of wine from the upstairs seating balcony.
Immersive Van Gogh Chicago has a date package that makes the experience even more memorable for couples. As part of the venue, the team created a Juliette balcony that overlooks the art in a private suite. Couples can book the balcony for a date in advance online and enjoy a bottle of champagne, flowers, and a box of chocolate while taking in the immersive exhibit.
The exhibit includes 500,000 cubic feet of art space. That’s part of what makes that private Juliette balcony so romantic. Jessica said the team can even help couples book a room at a Chicago hotel, including The Drake Hotel and the 21C Museum Hotel. They’ll even organize a Lyft or Uber to make the entire date night seamless.
“That is a really popular option for viewing the exhibit, and we love that people are as excited about it as we are,” she said. “It gives people the opportunity to escape and go somewhere else. They’ve had the opportunity to escape from all their troubles, and that means even more during the pandemic. We’re a beacon of light and hope.”
The exhibit follows COVID-19 safety protocols, including requiring masks, social distancing, and frequently sanitizing all surfaces.
The exhibit is based in Chicago, and the team is planning to open new locations in Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Houston, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the interest people have with this exhibit,” Jessica said. “We want to bring this to other cities throughout America because it has been a privilege to share this with the public.”