Borderland residents can find out what it feels like to seemingly float inside a masterpiece.
“Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” runs through Jan. 20 at the El Paso County Coliseum, 4100 E. Paisano St.
The event, which takes about an hour, projects more than 300 of Dutch Post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces for viewers to enjoy, said Billye Thompson, event manager for Paquin Entertainment, which is producing the show.
El Pasoans have welcomed the exhibit, which uses music, moving projections and canvases that rise high above the Coliseum floor to transform the artwork into a multisensory experience.
“Right now we are sold out for the next few weeks of the exhibit, but we are expecting to have a full capacity attendance,” Thompson said.
“People here in El Paso are excited about what we brought here.”
The event is presented by Paquin Entertainment, based out of Winnipeg, Canada, and Normal Studio, out of Montreal.
“They joined together and came up with this idea to put on this immersive experience,” Thompson said.
The showcase was created by French-Canadian creative director Mathieu St-Arnaud and his team at Normal Studio, a news release said.
Participants are greeted at the beginning of the exhibit by a colorful tunnel that leads to the Education Room, which has informative panels on Van Gogh’s life in English and Spanish. Next is the Waterfall Room, with colors flowing down a wall and around the entrance to the Immersive Experience Room, where the high canvas walls come alive with moving projections of the artist’s work as the floor shifts in colors.
Between the moving images on the walls and floors, visitors can experience a sense of floating within masterpieces. Be sure to have someone or something steady to hold on to if you have balance issues because the experience can trick your senses into thinking the floor has given way to platforms of color that are supporting you in midair.
Thompson didn’t know how much the production costs, but said, “it’s a great investment not only in finances, but in people that we bring here to set this all up.”
“We have a production crew that goes from city to city to set it up,” he said. “It takes about six days to come into a city, set it up and have it up and running. And then once the exhibit is over, we have a crew that comes back and tears it all down and we ship all of this equipment to the next city that we are going to.”
A traveling crew consists of 12 to 18 people, he said.
The El Paso show is only one of the company’s productions.
“We have the ‘Beyond Van Gogh’ exhibit, so we’re in multiple cities right now,” Thompson said. “That’s one of three ‘Beyond’ shows, a franchise of Paquin Entertainment. We have ‘Beyond Van Gogh,’ we have ‘Beyond Monet,’ we’ve also just kicked off ‘Beyond Tut’ as well. So, we have several shows that are active right now in multiple, different cities.”
Thompson has advice for the El Pasoans who are joining the millions who have taken part in the immersive art experience.
“When people come to the exhibit, we like them to come with an open mind and know that what they experience here in the exhibit is basically what Vincent created from his art,” Thompson said. “He said, ‘I paint what I feel’ and what you see is a wonderful example of how he felt about the world outside. He saw the beauty in a lot of things around him and he put it on canvas and created it for all of us to see.”
What to know if you go to ‘Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’
What: “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” featuring the work of Dutch Post-Impressionist Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890)
When: From Dec. 16 to Jan. 20
Duration: The visit will take around one hour, with final entry one hour before close.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Monday and Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve; closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Final entry is one hour before closing.
Where: El Paso County Coliseum, 4100 E. Paisano St.
Tickets: Children 5-15: $28.99; children 4 and younger get in free and do not require a ticket.
Basic Timed Entry: $49.99: 16 and older
Group timed entry: $43.99; groups of eight or more can be of all ages; cannot be combined with any other discounts.
Premium flex: $59.99; premium tickets allow you to enter up to two hours before or after the start time stated on your ticket, subject to exhibit opening hours.
VIP: $83.99; include Premium ticket perks, priority access to the exhibit, and a “Beyond Van Gogh” merchandise package
More information: https://beyondvangogh.com