Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in York – The team behind the popular York attraction have promised that the lights will stay on a little longer – visitors will now have until 6 June 2021 to immerse themselves in over 200 of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings.
“We have been drawing visitors from all over the country and beyond, and ticket holders have been incredibly understanding about the changing arrangements – fully open, restricted to certain tiers, closed – and are happy to rearrange their visits for a later date, but with our planned closure at the end of February, many were disappointed that they might miss out, particularly with the new lockdown announced yesterday,” comments Mario Iacampo, creative director. “We’re delighted to confirm that we’ll be extending the exhibition until 6 June 2021 – which incorporates the Easter holiday and takes us through the May bank holiday weekends to the end of the Spring half term.”
At the moment, the attraction is looking to reopen as soon as restrictions lift, with the safety measures in place – including increased cleaning, social distancing and hand sanitisation stations throughout the building – in line with Visit England’s We’re Good To Go safety benchmark, though these will be reviewed and updated if any government guidance changes. “Last night’s announcement included the vague date of ‘half term’ for reviewing the restrictions, which could be anytime between 15 and 22 February. We’ve provisionally opened prebooked slots from 15 February, though will be advising visitors that these dates are clearly subject to change,” adds Mario.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience opened for the first time in the UK in July 2019 in York St Mary’s, a former church turned arts centre in the Coppergate Centre, next to JORVIK Viking Centre. Visitors enjoy a 35 minute show, projected onto the pillared walls and floor of the building’s nave, featuring over 200 of Van Gogh’s most famous works, animated and set to music. From swaying wheat fields to falling cherry petals, a gallery of portraits and still life paintings and even a remarkable rain storm, visitors are immersed in the artworks, reflecting different periods in Van Gogh’s life.
“The last year has been so disrupted and disorientating for so many people, but this immersive experience has been designed to offer an almost Zen-like calm amongst viewers – many comment that they find themselves relaxed or even overcome by emotion during the projections – so we do have a lot of repeat visitors, who use the time as an escape from the everyday world,” adds manager, Evie Blackstock. “After weeks or potentially months of lockdown, we’re sure they will be very happy with the additional three months’ extension.”
Visitors’ own artistic skills are challenged in a ‘mindfulness’ colouring area, where colouring sheets featuring outlines of famous artworks are provided, and completed pictures are projected onto the wall in a digital gallery. An optional 11 minute virtual reality experience completes the visit – taking visitors on a tour of Arles, the village where Van Gogh spent much of his later life, and which inspired a host of his artworks, including the stunning Starry Night on the Rhone.
Opening times from February are likely to be 10am to 4pm (last admissions), with extended opening hours during the school holidays. Tickets cost £13 for adults, £11 for concessions and £9 for children, with an additional charge of £3 per person for the optional Virtual Reality experience. Tickets can be prebooked at vangoghexpo.co.uk/york
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will also reopen in All Saint’s Church in Leicester until 6 June 2021.