Van Gogh Alive to headline Newcastle’s 2022 New Annual festival

City of Newcastle

A multi-sensory experience that has attracted more than eight and a half million people across 75 cities around the world will be the centrepiece of City of Newcastle’s second New Annual festival in September.

Presented in a specially designed 2,300-square-metre gallery known as The Grand Pavilion, which will be set up at Newcastle’s premier major event space, Foreshore Park, Van Gogh Alive features more than 3,000 high-definition images of the artist’s work, projected at a scale that allows visitors to experience the paintings like never before.

Newcastle artist James Drinkwater, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, City Business Improvement Association Chairperson Kendall Brooks and City of Newcastle New Annual Senior Producer and Curator Adrian Burnett with some of the images visitors will experience as part of Van Gogh Alive.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said attracting Van Gogh Alive is a coup for Newcastle that will enhance the city’s reputation for hosting world-class events while boosting the local economy by attracting thousands of visitors.

“We’re excited to partner with Andrew Kay Management to bring the impressive Van Gogh Alive to a regional city for the first time in Australia as part of our New Annual festival,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Spanning across a ten-day period and featuring over 50 events across the city, New Annual will showcase local and visiting artists sharing music, dance, theatre, performance, and visual art in a celebration of creativity.

“The versatility of Foreshore Park ensures we’re able to attract major events such as this unique immersive experience in Newcastle, which will attract an influx of visitors to our city at a time when the local tourism industry needs it most and as local operators and businesses recover from the pandemic.”

Newcastle artist James Drinkwater described Van Gogh, who was his favourite painter as a child, as being “in the pantheon of the greats” and welcomed the opportunity to see this show in Newcastle. He said the city was “coming of age” culturally and believed an event such as this one would make art more accessible to the wider community.

“This event is a marker of the times and acts as a conduit between the wonderful and complex social spectrum of Newcastle,” James said.

Created and produced by Grande Experiences, Van Gogh Alive is co-produced by Andrew Kay in association with BBC and Alex Fane in the Grand Pavilion.

Bruce Peterson, owner of Grande Experiences, said “After mesmerising a global audience of over 8.5 million people and selling-out cities all over the world, including Rome, London and Beijing, we’re incredibly excited that Van Gogh Alive now comes to Newcastle. This is an unforgettable cultural experience for all the family.”

Andrew Kay of Andrew Kay Management, said “Van Gogh Alive has been an international hit, thrilling audiences across the globe since the first experience launched at the Art Science Museum in Singapore in 2011.”

Van Gogh Alive provides audiences with the opportunity to plunge themselves in the life and work of Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh, through a vibrant symphony of light, colour and fragrance, set to an evocative classical soundtrack.

An interpretive area provides an educational introduction to some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, before the cutting-edge technology of the SENSORY4 TM Gallery transports visitors inside the artist’s greatest works, with images projected onto virtually every surface.

Newcastle will host Van Gogh Alive from 21 September until 23 October at Foreshore Park, while the New Annual program will run from 23 September to 2 October throughout the city.

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