The brilliant work of 19th century Dutch-born painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) can be experienced in a new light at digital art shows in Indianapolis and Chicago.

The Midwest venues offer visitors different experiences, but I found The Lume Indianapolis show at Newfields, 4000 Michigan Road, to be superior in its presentation and overall appeal — unless you want to splurge on the date night package in Chicago.

Last month, I saw the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in Chicago, at the Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, 108 W. Germania Place, in the Gold Coast neighborhood. The show originated in Paris where it received 2 million visitors. It’s now appearing in a dozen cities in the U.S.

More than 50 digital projectors are used to splash the 35-foot walls of the historic Germania Club with animated versions of Van Gogh’s paintings. Among the most recognized are The Bedroom in Arles, Sunflowers and Starry Night. The experience is enhanced with musical scores that blend electronic and classical compositions.

Attendees with enhanced tickets are given Van Gogh-styled cushions and are encouraged to lounge in the various rooms while enjoying the 40-minute show with 500,000 cubic feet of projections. The balcony area offers another excellent viewing option.

Chicago tickets range from $50 to $75 (depending on the time and day of the week). Special yoga tickets ($55) include 35 minutes for the class and 45 minutes afterwards to enjoy the exhibit. Date night packages including hotel, private Juliet balcony for two, bottle of champagne, flowers and box of truffles start at $399.

Presented by Australian-based Grande Experiences, the Indianapolis exhibit offers a different take on the same idea. It debuted at Newfields this past Wednesday. My wife and I got a sneak preview for the media the week prior.

The Lume is the first permanent multi-sensory exhibition of its kind in the country. The exhibit occupies 30,000 square feet of space of Newfields and features 150 projectors covering three large gallery spaces. The projections are composed of 3,000 images of 30 various Van Gogh paintings. Upon entering the exhibit, a lavender scent greets visitors; the scent helps to set the mood and becomes part of the experience, although the scent is so faint, it becomes barely noticeable.

The show lasts 40 minutes but there are 20 minutes of short stories by digital artists who have interpreted the works of Van Gogh.

There is no time limit for visitors. A French-style café in the midst of the exhibit offers specialty cocktails, cakes and snacks. There is also a “Gogh Play” area for children.

Another highlight is the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s display of original works by Van Gogh and French Post-Impressionst artists Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903).

Ticket prices for the Indy show are a bargain compared to the show in Chicago. In Indy, adult prices are $25; youth (6-17) $17; children 5 and under are free. There also is ample free parking. (I paid $18 to park at the Chicago venue.)

Tickets for The Lume are on sale online. For more information, visit The Van Gogh exhibit runs until May 2022; after Van Gogh, another artist will be featured for a year.

Terry Housholder is president and chairman of the board of KPC Media Group Inc. Contact him at

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