Van Gogh at Newfields | THE LUME and More

We recently had a chance to visit THE LUME Indianapolis and greatly enjoyed the large, immersive exhibit. We were also pleasantly surprised by the other great exhibits and activities going on throughout the museum. THE LUME features the works of Vincent Van Gogh, projected like you have never seen them before. There is so much more than initially meets the eye to this exhibit, and here’s why we think you need to take the kids and check it out.

What is THE LUME Indianapolis?

THE LUME is a new semi-permanent multi-sensory exhibition at Newfields, the art campus in Indianapolis formerly known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It opened to the public on July 27, 2021 and will be in-house until May of 2022. It truly is an entirely new way to “see” art. As an immersive experience, you get the unforgettable chance to be a part of the painting. Van Gogh’s works are projected onto the gallery walls and floors using 150 high-definition digital projectors, so you are surrounded by the artwork. His two-dimensional paintings are transformed into three-dimensional images that change constantly and at times, become animated. Music is synchronized with the images, and there are also gentle scents of citrus and floral.

Why should I take the kids?

It is a great way to introduce art to children, as kids will get to see Van Gogh’s paintings exploding ont   o the large walls. They can experience art without the usual constraints of going to a museum. In the traditional setting, kids are told to view art quietly and not touch anything. Here, the lights and music, coupled with the encouragement to move freely throughout the exhibit, can make this such an inviting artistic experience for children.  (However, these features may not be appropriate for children with sensory disabilities. If this is a concern, please check the FAQs section of the NEWFIELDS website before your visit or call the museum with any questions, to ensure all of your party has an enjoyable experience.)

What else is included in the exhibit?

Throughout the galleries, there are large quotes intended for the viewer to learn more about Van Gogh and his art. The last room of the exhibit features a Van Gogh painting, as well as paintings similar in style by other artists of his time period. In contrast to the immersive portion of the exhibit, it’s nice at the end to stand quietly and reflect on the paintings. Outside the more traditional gallery, there is another interactive portion.  Van Gogh’s painting Bedroom in Arles is recreated with great detail, and you can even sit on the bed, turning an imaginary world into something real and tangible.  This is also a great spot for a photo opportunity for the family or individual members.

Additionally, there is a bar and café that serves small treats and kid-friendly beverages, as well as cocktails, so you can enjoy a snack as you stroll. While you are allowed to bring your purchases throughout the exhibit, everything needs to be consumed or packed away before you leave the fourth floor and re-enter any other exhibits. We had the opportunity to sample most of the wonderful goodies. There are themed lollipops, blueberry starry nights and bright yellow sunflowers, from the Gallery Pastry Shop in Broad Ripple. There are glazed sugar cookies from Taylor’s Bakery with THE LUME stamped on top, or giant sunflowers. I love how the museum is partnering with the community and using this opportunity to support local restaurants and bakeries. There are also bags of playful blue and yellow popcorn and multi-packs of macarons. Additionally, the THE LUME gift shop offers items for the whole family. The kids picked up a pretty mug and Van Gogh coloring books as souvenirs for the exhibit.

What else should we check out?

We were excited to enjoy everything outside the exhibit, as well. We strolled through the gardens at Newfields. It is one of our favorite places in the Summer, but this year it is even better. The garden has been planted with sunflowers and many other plants found in Van Gogh’s paintings. The kids had a blast running along the paths and taking it all in. As you stroll, there are several placards talking about specific paintings and how they tie in with the nature in the gardens. I loved the bright, vibrant flowers and all the plants on their grounds. The campus has large mature trees, offering shade so you can escape the heat.

While outdoors, you can have a drink at the beer garden, grab a pretzel, or try our favorite, the charcuterie board from Goose the Market.  The volunteers and horticulturists at the museum do a great job maintaining the gardens and greenhouse, as well as creating such a beautiful atmosphere for your enjoyment. While you could spend all day admiring the beauty of the gardens, you can also hike down the paths behind the greenhouse to the canal for a bit more adventure. The museum is revamping some of their smaller paths, widening to make them wheelchair and stroller accessible. Plans are in the works for a more permanent beer garden closer to the Four Seasons Garden, and they have already completed work on a large patio there, used for special events throughout the year.

If you are intending to visit THE LUME, you need to purchase tickets specifically for the exhibit.  The THE LUME tickets also include general admission to the museum and gardens, but regular general admission tickets do not include the THE LUME exhibit.  Besides this exhibit, which is wonderful by itself, there is plenty for the family to enjoy at Newfields. Kids can learn about Vincent van Gogh and learn to recognize some of his most famous works, including Starry Night and Almond Blossoms. They can also run through the gardens and enjoy everything else Newfields has to offer. So should you take kids to THE LUME Indianapolis? Yes! It is sure to be an experience the family won’t soon forget.

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