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 lasts 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 produces the show.
El Pasoans welcomed the exhibit, which uses music, moving projections and canvases rising 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 expect to have a full capacity attendance,” Thompson said.
“People here in El Paso are excited about what we’ve brought here.”
The event is presented by Paquin Entertainment, based out of Winnipeg, Canada, and Normal Studio, out of Montreal.
“They banded together and came up with this idea to offer this immersive experience,” Thompson said.
The showcase was created by French-Canadian creative director Mathieu St-Arnaud and his team at Normal Studio, according to a news release.
Attendees are greeted at the start of the exhibition by a colorful tunnel leading to the Education Room, which has informative panels about 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 color.
Between the moving images on the walls and floors, visitors can experience a sense of floating in masterpieces. Make sure you have someone or something steady to hold on to if you have balance issues, as the experience can trick your senses into thinking the floor has given way to platforms of color that support you in the air.
Thompson didn’t know how much the production cost, but said, “it’s a great investment not only in finances, but in people that we bring here to set it all up.”
“We have a production team that goes from city to city to set it up,” he said. “It takes about six days to get into a city, set it up and get it going. And once the exhibit is over, we have a crew come back and tear it all down and we ship all this equipment to the next city we go to.”
A traveling crew consists of 12 to 18 people, he said.
The El Paso show is just one of the company’s productions.
“We have the ‘Beyond Van Gogh’ exhibit, so we’re in multiple cities now,” Thompson said. “This is one of three ‘Beyond’ shows, a franchise of Paquin Entertainment. We have ‘Beyond Van Gogh’, we have ‘Beyond Monet’, we also just kicked off ‘Beyond Tut’ as well. So, we have several shows that are currently active in several, different cities. “
Thompson has advice for the El Pasoans 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’re experiencing 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 many 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 December 16 to January 20
Time: The visit will last approximately one hour, with final registration one hour before closing.
Hours: 10am to 8pm Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 10am to 9pm Friday and Saturday; closed Monday and Tuesday; 10am to 5pm 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 under get in free and do not need a ticket.
Basic Term Enrollment: $49.99: 16 and over
Group time entry: $43.99; groups of eight or more can be of all ages; cannot be combined with any other discount.
Premium flexibility: $59.99; premium tickets allow you to enter up to two hours before or after the start time stated on your ticket, subject to exhibition opening times.
VIP: $83.99; includes Premium ticket perks, priority entry to the exhibition, and a “Beyond Van Gogh” merchandise package
More information: https://beyondvangogh.com