Step into the world of Vincent van Gogh—literally. The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields will debut a multi-sensory digital exhibit in June.

By Ginger Crichton
October 07, 2020

Vincent van Gogh’s evocative post-impressionist works, such as Sunflowers and The Starry Night, will be brought to life in a new way next year for visitors to The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.

THE LUME Indianapolis, created by Australian-based Grande Experiences, will feature 150 high-definition projectors that transform two-dimensional paintings into three-dimensional worlds.

Renderings of THE LUME Indianapolis
| Credit: Courtesy of Grande Experiences

In announcing the June 2021 exhibit today, the museum said this marks the "largest and most innovative art exhibition in our 137-year history" and the "first permanent space of its kind in the country."

The exhibit will occupy the museum's entire 4th floor, with nearly 30,000 square feet of space. "Digital projectors will showcase great art from floor to ceiling," said Charles L. Venable, CEO at Newfields. "This new way of experiencing art will be truly multi-sensory. Artwork will come alive through the use of cutting-edge projection technology, music, food and even cocktails."

The move comes after five years of research into art consumer motivation and digital exhibitions in other countries. "Modern audiences want more than static gallery experiences," Venable said. "Rather, they want highly engaging ones that blur the boundaries between cultural events like viewing art in an art museum, attending concerts, going to the movies, dining in a restaurant and ordering drinks at a bar."

Venable said the museum believes it will be "more than a popular will be the right strategy at this watershed moment for museums," marrying technology and great art on a much larger scale than previously. The museum plans to debut a new experience in the space each summer.

Renderings of THE LUME Indianapolis
| Credit: Courtesy of Grande Experiences

Like other major art museums around the country, Newfields is looking for ways to attract new audiences and stay financially viable while also continuing to provide a place for study and contemplation.  

THE LUME exhibit is one of many changes Venable has spearheaded at the museum and grounds, which were renamed Newfields, A Place for Nature & the Arts in 2017. Seasonal programming like Winterlights, Harvest Days and Harvest Nights have attracted visitors and their ticket dollars; the museum, which had been free during a previous administration, also now charges for general admission ($18 for adults).

Grande Experiences, which is creating THE LUME, has staged more than 190 exhibitions worldwide using multi-sensory technology to engage audiences.

“Our popular exhibitions have quickly moved from artifact-based, to multimedia, to multi-sensory and now to very experiential,” Bruce Peterson, Grande Experiences founder, said in a statement. “We are engaging new audiences to appreciate the arts in a different way, and we know from our work internationally that it will encourage more people to visit places like Newfields with renewed appreciation.”

Renderings of THE LUME Indianapolis
| Credit: Courtesy of Grande Experiences