Every Immersive Art Experience for Kids in LA: Gogh To Van Gogh and See the Sistine
LA is having an immersive moment, and it's one of the few things we can thank the pandemic for: inspiring the proliferation of these amazing, touch-free, large-scale productions. They're popping up everywhere—in fact, there are two Van Gogh exhibits near LA—and these immersive art experiences will take you from the heart of Vatican City to the art on the street. Walking into one of these larger-than-life pop-up shows is like diving into an artist's palette (and mind!). Traditional museums around Southern California are a wonderful destination for you and your little art lovers, but don't miss a chance to visit at least one of these current or upcoming immersive shows, which are great for kids of all ages and a true treat for art-starved adults!
Read on for the scoop of when these art experiences are popping up, what each entails, and which ones are best to visit with kids.
Immersive Van Gogh is at the former home of Amoeba Records on Sunset Blvd., and it's now the largest Van Gogh exhibit in the world where families can walk through 500,000 cubic feet of projection animating Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. This is billed as "the original Van Gogh immersive experience" (there are two in the LA area right now, and since they have similar names there has been a lot of confusion). Italian installation artist Massimiliano Siccardi pioneered this immersive digital art experience in France, and it really blew up when Emily in Paris visited the (Paris) show ... and the rest is art history!
The Hollywood exhibit is produced by Siccardi, the original producers, and the production designer of Hamilton/Dear Evan Hansen—so these are serious spectacle creators and theater producers. Each of the city installations is site-specific and at a unique location, so even if you've seen this show in another city, it will look a little more, well, LA, here. There is also an AI bot that answers texts in the style of Van Gogh, based on his letters to his brother, which is pretty cool. Our New York editor, who visited both Van Gogh experiences, found this one to be a bit more little kid-friendly. (More on the other one, which is in Anaheim, below.)
Tickets and Times
Kids 5 and under are free, and tickets for kids 6-16 are $29.99, and a range of other ticket options are available, starting at $40 for adults in off-peak hours to $100 for VIP tickets. This experience is currently running through January 2, 2022.
See The Starry Night in total immersion at Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. Photo by Jody Mercier
Beyond Van Gogh at the Anaheim Convention Center is a(nother) multimedia experience that uses cutting-edge projection technology to take guests on a journey through over 300 iconic artworks—including classics such as "The Starry Night," "Sunflowers," and "Cafe Terrace at Night." The show is set to a symphonic score and the artist's dreams, thoughts, and words were gathered to create a narrative. Van Gogh's art comes to life by appearing and disappearing, flowing across multiple surfaces and giving viewers a new perspective with the immense detail and close-ups. Big kids (and parents) might learn more about art at this immersive installation, which has more historical and biographical information, than the LA Van Gogh exhibit listed above.
Tickets and Times
Kids 5 and under are free, tickets for kids 5-15 are $25, students are $42, and adult tickets start at $47. This experience is currently running now through September 12.
We are all Banksy. Photo courtesy of Banksy: Genius or Vandal?
This new exhibit, featuring over 70 authenticated works by Banksy, just opened in Los Angeles on August 30. One of the most fascinating things about Banksy is that no one knows who he is; we know he's a British street artist and political activist, but no one knows his actual identity. (He's also the subject of a fantastic documentary called Exit Through the Gift Shop, which is perfect pre-exhibit viewing with your bigger kids!) The exhibit itself is a multi-sensory immersive experience that uses virtual reality to explore the artist and his works. In addition to the largest collection of artworks anywhere by Banksy, the exhibition presents art installations, photos, and videos showing street works by Banksy (which are currently mostly lost, as is the nature of street art) in what was their original environment. This event is suitable for all ages, and provides a great introduction to the many sides of art for kids who think the pastoral paintings in museums are boring! This exhibition, as all that have been previously dedicated to Banksy, is not authorized by the artist, who to this day remains anonymous and independent.
Tickets and Times
The location of the exhibit remains undisclosed until you purchase tickets. Kids 3 and under are free, tickets for kids 5-15 are $19.90, and adult tickets start at $29.50. This experience is currently running now through December 27.
It can feel like you're swimming in Monet's water lilies. Photo courtesy of Monet: The Immersive Experience
It's everyone's first art poster, bigger than life! Monet: The Immersive Experience is 20,000 square feet of the impressionist master's work. Monet's most famous works are displayed in two-story projections, where kids can soak up the brilliance of one of history’s greatest artists. The completely digital (and hands-free) experience means lots of open spaces, no touching anything, and art that appeals to even the youngest of viewers. In addition to a large central area where Monet’s works stretch floor-to-ceiling, the experience includes separate galleries that chronicle his life, technique, and influence through informative panels, larger-than-life re-creations, and lots of interactive experiences. The experience features a unique Virtual Reality tour, which allows kids to walk alongside Monet and discover the inspiration behind eight of his iconic works. It's great for kids of all ages, and there is even a surprise at the end for little artists...
Tickets and Times
The location of the exhibit is still undisclosed (what is it with these super-secret locations?). Kids 3 and under are free, tickets for kids 5-15 are $22.90, and adult tickets start at $44.90. This experience opens on November 5.
See the Sistine Chapel this weekend—it's in Beverly Hills, not Vatican City. Photo by Mommy Poppins
Experience a life-size, up-close, never-before-seen perspective of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel right here in LA! While this is less of an immersive experience than the others, it's still an incredible opportunity (and it happens to come with less expensive tickets than the other immersive art experiences): the ceiling paintings from the Sistine Chapel have been reproduced using high-definition photos and a special printing technique that emulates the look and feel of the original paintings. See every detail, every brushstroke, and every color of the artist’s 34 frescoes. Even if you've seen the original Sistine Chapel, this is a chance to look even more closely, and see the art in amazing detail—and without being in a tiny packed room pressed up against both tourists and a short viewing window. Anyone who has never seen the originals can get a much better sense of the majesty and grandeur of the massive murals than is possible from tiny reproductions in art books. And all with a simple drive to Beverly Hills. Be sure to get the audio tour and make a stop into the theater—the story behind the art entrances kids as much as the art itself.
Tickets and Times
The exhibit is in Beverly Hills now through October 3, and ticket prices start at $19.20 per adult and $13.50 per child.
Surround yourself in gold. Photo courtesy of Klimt: The Immersive Experience
To be honest, this is the one I'm waiting for! See Klimt's work in 20,000 square feet of projected paintings, light, and sound that includes two-story projections of the artist’s works. The gold and jewel-toned hues of the paintings and mysterious expressions will intrigue art lovers of all ages. In addition to the main area of the show, where massive reproductions of Klimt’s paintings stretch floor-to-ceiling, there are separate galleries that teach kids (and parents) about his life, technique, influence on the world of art, and the inspiration behind eight of his iconic works. The experience is suitable for kids of all ages, as well as adults.
Tickets and Times
This is one we have to wait for, as it doesn't open until January of 2022, in (you guessed it) an undisclosed location. Tickets are available now and are free for kids 3 and under, $19.90 for kids 4-15, and adult tickets start at $39.90.