The Van Gogh Experience


Kate Hutner

    As many of you know, living in Indiana comes with the consequences of having little to do. Yes, you can visit the art museum once a month, or travel down to Promenade Park and examine the polluted river. Still, many of us seek something more exciting. If this relates to you, the Lume Exhibit in Newfield, Indiana might provide a new adventure for you.

    The Lume Exhibit is one of the few museums that displays Vincent Van Gogh’s acclaimed art. The curators use over 150 digital projectors and a 30,000 foot area to display Van Gogh’s paintings. As a result, the visitors receive a distinctly immersive experience. The display restarts every 60 minutes, however there is no time limit on the length of your stay: Visitors can sit, stand and wander through the artworks of the icon Van Gogh for as long as they please. The museum broadcasts a multitude of his art, from his iconic sunflowers to his detailed portraits. The experience is truly unforgettable.The paintings dance around you for hours on end. However, the excitement does not end there. As you stroll through a mirrored tunnel and into another portal of art, you come across the Café Terrace 1888, a pitstop containing snacks and drinks, decorated to make you feel as though you have wandered into a cafe in Southern Italy. 

    After you are rejuvenated from your break, you may return to the digital display of artwork, or you may continue, entering into a space that allows you to become one of the paintings. This room may be one of the most popular, as everyone dreams of someone as talented as Van Gogh painting a portrait of them, right? One’s dreams may come true as this exhibit allows you to take a picture and transform yourself into one of his paintings. After you are satisfied with your image, it is projected onto a wall of frames, fully finalizing the reality of your image. 

    Just as you think you are parting with an experience of a lifetime, you walk into the final room, which is possibly the most astonishing. The room may feel empty, as it does not have paintings dancing around you or your portrait on the wall. However, it holds the most prized possessions: “Landscape at Saint-Rémy” by Van Gogh, “Landscape near Arles” by Paul Gauguin and “House in Provence” by Paul Cézanne. All three of these paintings were painted in Southern France, and are significant in the world of famous painters. According to Allison Lantz (12), a visitor of the museum, she states that “When examining these paintings, I can’t help but wonder about why these paintings are in Indiana?” It does make one ponder. Maybe Indiana is not as boring as it seems, it just takes a little more digging to find something truly captivating. 

    The exhibit comes to an end with a realistic set up of Van Gogh’s painting “The Bedroom”. Many guests take a seat in the bed, posing for a picture, and observing the details of what his bedroom looked like in person.  Raegan Rhodehamel (12), another visitor of the museum, states that “it makes you wonder about what Van Gogh was thinking in the moment, and how he chooses to paint what he does.”

    The Lume Exhibit in Newfield Indiana is a prime example of a dream-like getaway from the classic cornfields and pothole roads of Indiana. Just visiting once will make you look at the world differently, forcing you to observe the dirty snow or endless factories as a possible painting. Who knows, maybe visiting the museum will inspire one of you to become an artist and next thing the world knows is that your paintings are dancing through the walls of museums, allowing others to escape from the world around them.