Jun 21, 2021 - Things to Do

7 quick takeaways from my visit to Charlotte’s Immersive Van Gogh exhibit

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Immersive Van Gogh is one of the hottest tickets in town this summer with limited availability through the rest of its three-month run.

I brought my dad for its opening weekend and was wowed at just how massive the pop-up exhibit was. Immersive Van Gogh spans thousands of square feet inside a former Ford factory at Camp North End.

  • Inside there’s space for local artists in residency, a gift shop, a snack bar, various photo ops and the main attraction — a giant black box room with 500,000 cubic feet of animated projections of Van Gogh’s works.

Situational awareness: Immersive Van Gogh is a nationally touring show with pop-ups in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. It blew up in popularity after an appearance on the Netflix hit series “Emily in Paris.” The Charlotte stop is presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts and Lighthouse Immersive. Charlotte-based artist Bree Stallings served as the experience’s art director.

  • It’ll run at Camp North End daily from now to Sunday, September 12, and tickets start at $39.99 for adults and $24.99 for children.

Here are 7 takeaways from my visit.

(1) Parking is easy if you know where to go.

Camp North End is expansive, so you could have quite the walk if you don’t park in the right spot. Immersive Van Gogh is held in the massive Ford Building in between Hygge Coworking and the Boileryard.

  • Turn into Keswick Avenue off of N. Graham Street, drive past the food stalls, and park just past Leah & Louise. If you enter on Camp Road from Graham, follow Camp by taking one left and one right, then park just past Leah & Louise.
van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
Look for this mural by Immersive Van Gogh art director and Charlotte artist Bree Stallings for the entrance. Photo: Emma Way/Axios
van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
Walk over the turf to enter. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

(2) You’re sitting most of the time so spring for the cushion.

Once you walk into the projection room, find a circle to sit (or stand) in. There’s really not a bad seat in the house, but if you don’t want to sit on decades-old brick, opt for a “premium” ticket, which includes a free cushion. This set-up also made social distancing really easy.

Unlike most art exhibitions, you’re not walking around to see the art. Think of it more like a 360-degree movie with projections all around you.

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
Some of the circles have benches you can sit on instead of the floor. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

(3) It’s not cheap.

I definitely experienced some sticker shock while purchasing my tickets, but I’m glad I pushed through. I bought two premium flex tickets, which included a poster and flexible entry timing for $59.99 each. With ticket fees and sales tax, my total was $141.56. That plus $20.40 for one beer and one canned wine stung a bit.

  • Of note: Immersive Van Gogh is the most expensive Van Gogh show out there in a busy marketplace between traditional museums with Van Gogh exhibits and immersive experiences.

[Go deeper: Dueling Van Gogh exhibits cause confusion across America]

(4) But some things are free.

That being said, there’s a handful of add-ons that are entirely free — with or without an Immersive Van Gogh ticket. You can walk through giant sunflower sculptures and chat with local artists next-to the gift shop. Plus, there’s an outdoor bar with green turf resembling the quintessential “Starry Night” spiral pattern.

(5) Dress for the weather.

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
I loved these giant sunflowers. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

There’s little to no air conditioning throughout the experience so dress appropriately. I went in the evening and found it a little warm, but not bad at all. The heat is worse in the gift shop and snack bar areas.

Remember: This building is a very old former car factory, not a shiny new museum. I found it wholly charming, but set your expectations with that in mind.

(6) You decide how long you want to stay.

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
The bar serves beer, wine and snacks from local vendors. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

The projections run on a 35-minute loop with a clear beginning and end, but you can stay and watch the show as many times as you want. Plus, plan out some time to check out the Charlotte artists selling their works in the artist in residency section. And some time to explore Camp North End as a whole.

All said, I was there for a little over an hour.

(7) There’s so much more to explore while you’re at Camp North End.

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
Find artwork from Rosalia Torres Weiner in the artist in residency zone. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

After (or before) your visit, tour around Camp North End. Here are my favorite spots:

  • Leah & Louise is a must-try for dinner and/or brunch. It was easily the No. 1 best new restaurant in Charlotte in 2020, and is a top contender for best restaurant overall. I even saw celebrity chef Carla Hall dining there this past weekend. I did a beer at Free Range next-door first.
  • If you’re at Camp North End in mid-day, I recommend the outdoor food hall for lunch or snacks.
  • Cheese lovers should head to the newly opened Babe & Butcher shop.
  • Pick up a new plant baby at Grow across the street from Leah & Louise.
  • Go on a Friday for live music and more.
  • Or go on a Wednesday for Camp North End’s farmers market.

[Full Axios guide: User’s guide to Camp North End, the growing development near Uptown]

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
Fridays are bustling in Camp North End with live music and a variety of food and drink vendors. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

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