Monday, July 26, 2021

Become Part of the Art at Van Gogh Immersive Experience

By Lauren Yarger
Have you ever gazed at a Van Gogh painting and longed to take a walk inside it? Or wondered what the artist must have seen while painting it. Or wished you could have created it yourself?

Well, wishes can come true at Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, a 360-degree digital art exhibition in New York City that allows you to become part of the impressionist's universe.

Located at Skylight, 300 Vesey St. (and no, this is not the other Van Gogh interactive experience across town -- more about that later), the Van Gogh Experience offers four different kinds of experiences beginning with some reproductions of his most famous (and most pricey-at-auction works) and a lot of information about them and the artist who created them.

My guest gasped with delight at the first 3-D painting of a vestibule, with a trompe l'oeil effect that challenged you to walk inside. I think she would have been content to sit and gaze at that for the duration, but much more beckoned. We took in a video about the artist and watched as a stationary vase transformed into numerous renderings.

The interactive room, a massive space where the four walls morph into various works with the aid of video projection and sound, truly give the feel of having entered into the canvas. Folks enjoy the experience from benches, lounge chairs and mats on the floor. It's lengthy and varied in presentation. A courtyard experience in the rain was so realistic, I began to reach for an umbrella before remembering that I was inside and not in any danger of really getting wet.

Participants meander through the exhibit at their own pace. If you want to get "rained on" again, there is no reason why you can't. Following the immersive room, participants enter a drawing room and can create their own version of Van Gogh's works and hang them on the wall. This seemed particularly geared toward the littlest of visitors. There was a wide range of ages attending the day I was there, from babies to the elderly and all seemed engaged.
For an additional fee, guests can take a 10-minute Virtual Reality experience (using Oculus headsets) and stroll through the French countryside for "A Day in the Life of the Artist" and discover the inspiration for eight of his iconic works, including "Vincent’s Bedroom at Arles" and "Starry Night Over The Rhone River."

The whole experience took a little over an hour (we didn't do the drawing). Time slots are available every half hour between 10 am and 8 pm weekdays and between 9 am and 9 pm on weekends. Besides in New York, you can experience Van Gogh in Atlanta, Dallas, Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, DC and internationally. For more information, visit

Now, just to avoid confusion, there is a second immersive Van Gogh experience across town at Pier 39. That one is created by Massimiliano Siccardi with David Korins of Hamilton fame serving as Creative Director. I have debated with several people whether there really are two so-similar experiences running in New York. There are! I have not seen the Pier 39 version, but you can find more information about it here:

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2022 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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