Immersive van Gogh to include social distancing circles


The organizers of Immersive van Gogh are taking a page out of the city’s public health playbook so visitors feel safe visiting the digital art exhibition when it opens in July.

The five-storey gallery space in the former Toronto Star printing plant at 1 Yonge will have so-called social distancing circles painted on the ground to indicate where visitors can stand in order to stay two-metres apart.

Toronto is piloting a social distancing circles project in Trinity Bellwoods Park this weekend after thousands gathered outdoors last Saturday to soak up the sunny weather. Brooklyn and San Francisco have already implemented the circles into busy public parks as a way to control crowds and curb infections during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are optimistic that cultural venues and destinations will soon be able to open to larger gatherings,” the event’s co-producer Svetlana Dvoretsky said in a statement. “And we are taking every measure to ensure that our patrons will be able to fully engross themselves in the incredible scale and visual impact of the art, film and sound experience – without worrying about social distancing.”

After public health measures restricting large gatherings forced Immersive van Gogh to push its scheduled premiere date to July, organizers decided to make the show accessible as a drive-in exhibition for 11 days in June as a preview dubbed “Gogh by Car.”

The circles will also integrate into the digital projections of van Gogh’s paintings within the 600,000-cubic-foot venue so that they become part of the experience. Organizers call the experience “Gogh the Distance.”

The five-storey brings the Dutch master’s paintings to life using light, sound and movement. It’s produced by Lighthouse Immersive, the company behind The Art of Banksy show that toured to Toronto two years ago.

It’s not yet clear when public gatherings of more than five people will be allowed. On Wedneday, the province extended emergency orders restricting gatherings through June 9.

The city has cancelled all city-led and city-permitted major festivals and events with attendance of more than 250 people through July 31. Events with attendance of 25,000 or more are cancelled through August 31.



Kevin has worked in journalism for 20 years, first as a general assignment reporter before being sucked into the glamorous life that is arts and entertainment coverage. Kevin now contributes to music, tv, film and culture.

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May 27, 2020

12:57 PM