Last Updated on July 3, 2023
You might have seen pictures or posts about the Van Gogh experience floating around social media these past few months. Considered to be one of the best immersive experiences in the world, I anxiously awaited for it to come to my hometown Atlanta.
Finally, after months of waiting, I saw that it was coming to my city! As soon as it became available to buy tickets, I immediately purchased them in mid-February for tickets in late June. A bit far in advance, but I did not want to miss this opportunity. The experience is only here for a limited time, and I would rather not travel elsewhere to see it. As cliché as it sounds, I firmly believe the early bird gets the worm.
Having immersed myself in the Van Gogh experience, below are my thoughts on the experience, along with helpful tips and information for your visit.
So, What Exactly is the Van Gogh Experience?
You might wonder what I am talking about if you haven’t heard about this experience. To make it even more confusing, different companies produce several Van Gogh exhibits, each providing different experiences. If you search this on Google, you will see what I mean.
You can click on the links below to discover the exhibits and locations of some of the various Van Gogh experiences that are out there:
- Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
- Van Gogh Alive
- Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
- Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition
I thought there was just one experience when I bought my tickets. I like anything that has to do with Vincent van Gogh, so it didn’t matter to me which one, but I needed to understand which one I was going to. After some research, it turns out I bought tickets for the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. Good to know.
Inside the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Imagine walking into a large room with a 360-degree panorama of Vincent van Gogh’s artwork coming to life. Sound, projections, and light create this stunning experience; arranged in a format that chronologically depicts his life and art, you can step into Starry Night Over the Rhône, the Almond Blossoms, the Sunflower Series, and more famous works from Vincent van Gogh.
In addition to the 360-degree experience, the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has adjacent rooms that give more detailed information about his life, including his early beginnings and family members that influenced him and his works of art.
You can learn about his volatile relationship with his friend, Paul Gauguin, and Van Gogh’s psychotic episodes that eventually led to him cutting off his ear and being admitted into Saint-Paul de Mausole asylum.
You can also pay a little extra for the virtual reality experience (the VIP ticket includes this). I’ve never done a VR experience before where you put on the headset, so this was exciting! In case you are wondering, they keep the headset clean between guests.
The VR experience will take you through some of Van Gogh’s paintings and make you feel like you are really there, walking around enjoying Van Gogh’s colorful and vibrant world. It provides a more intimate experience with his paintings and life than the 360-degree experience.
Toward the end of the experience, you will have the opportunity to color your own Vincent van Gogh artwork as they provide you with a selection of coloring pages. Of course, like most exhibits, there is a gift shop at the end to buy some souvenirs – jewelry, posters, coffee mugs, and books, to name a few.
Location of the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
This exhibit is held in multiple locations across the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. You can view all the places here.
For Atlanta, it is currently held at the Exhibition Hub Atlanta Art Center at 5660 Buford Highway NE:
Note: We visited the exhibit in 2021, but they have renovated the 360-digital projection show and there are now themed rooms that enhance the user experience.
How to Buy Tickets
For the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, I bought my tickets with the Fever App, which I downloaded from the App Store on my phone. You can also purchase the tickets directly on the website, but you must provide your email or log in to your Google or Facebook account.
The ticket prices are subject to change, but these are the current rates (for Atlanta):
- Regular adult ticket (ages 13+) is $34.90 for weekday and $39.90 for the weekend
- A ticket for a child from ages 4 to 12 is $20.90 for a weekday and $23.90 for the weekend
- Senior (ages 65+), student (ages 13-26), or military ticket is $29.90 for a weekday and $33.90 for the weekend
- VIP adult (ages 13+) ticket is $54.90 for a weekday and $59.90 for the weekend
- VIP ticket for a child (ages 4-12) is $40.90 for a weekday and $43.90 for the weekend
- VIP for a senior (ages 65+), student (ages 13-26), or military ticket is $49.90 for a weekday and $53.90 for the weekend
You can choose between a regular ticket and a VIP ticket. Please note that these ticket prices are for the Atlanta location. The prices may vary in different cities. You also might pay more if you go on the weekend. View their website for additional admission information and pricing.
In addition to the ticket, they charge a ticketing fee. This is charged regardless of whether you buy the standard or VIP ticket, but the ticketing cost for the standard ticket is slightly less than the VIP.
We bought the VIP tickets, which gave us access to the exhibit (the standard ticket also gives you access to the exhibit), the option to skip the line, a souvenir poster, and the option to do the virtual reality experience. When we arrived, they gave us a lanyard with a VIP pass to wear around our necks.
Tips for Visiting and Additional Information
- There is plenty of parking (250 spaces) at the Exhibition Hub in Atlanta.
- Plan approximately 1-2 hours for the whole experience.
- You can take pictures and video inside; no tripods/professional gear and flash photography are allowed.
- There are no concessions inside the exhibit, but there are options to purchase food and drinks. Food and drink vendors are nearby for the Atlanta location, including a coffee shop.
- Remember to check your email or the Fever app for your tickets! They will scan the ticket QR codes when you arrive.
- I highly recommend buying tickets at the earliest time available. While there were many people there in the morning, it wasn’t as crowded compared to a later time in the afternoon.
My Thoughts: Is the Experience Worth It?
Is the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience worth the visit and price? Yes, and no.
I found the visit unique as I have not experienced art this way before, and I am happy that I went, but I probably would not revisit it unless the exhibit were to add something more to see.
They did a fantastic job providing information about Vincent van Gogh’s life; I did not know many of the facts provided, but perhaps someone with more knowledge of the artist might not be as impressed. Children will most likely find this exhibit fun and interesting, especially with the lighting, sound effects, and the coloring option at the end.
And as unique and educational as this experience was, there is nothing quite like seeing his real masterpieces in a museum. For instance, we’ve seen the famous Starry Night in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and it is breathtaking to see in person. Having seen this and some of Van Gogh’s other art pieces, I found this experience slightly underwhelming.
Was paying extra for the VIP experience worth it? No, I wished I paid for the standard admission. It was nice to skip the line with VIP, but if you come early, you should not wait too long. They seemed to be moving people pretty fast to get inside. We also don’t collect posters or do anything with them, so the ones we got are just now in my office closet.
The VIP ticket does include the VR (virtual reality) experience, which is worth doing. However, you can just purchase the standard admission ticket and then pay an additional $5 per person on-site to do the VR experience.
Regardless, I still had fun. I will probably buy the tickets for their other upcoming exhibits, including the Claude Monet: The Immersive Experience, if it comes to or near Atlanta.
Shooting Film at the Van Gogh Experience
This experience is not the friendliest place to shoot film. First, the whole experience is in a low-light setting. Second, you can’t use a tripod. Third, many people go to this event.
A possible solution? High-speed film, but even then, I worried that my images would not come out well. There was so much movement from the people and the projected experience; I feared that most of my exposures would be blurry. Despite my fears, given the conditions, I think the images came out decent.
Before the experience, I had no high-speed film in my fridge. Discovering this a bit too late, and I didn’t have enough time to order some more, the husband suggested taking the high-speed film out of the disposable underwater camera we previously planned to use at Egmont Key State Park.
It was a good idea on his part because I wouldn’t have thought of it! All the images are shot on Fuji Superia 800, a consumer high-speed film. Probably not my first choice, but it did the job. Of course, we got plenty of video on the iPhone because images do not give the experience justice.
Did you go to the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience? If so, please comment on what you think!
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