Projectors and other digital equipment worth millions of dollars from Charlotte’s popular Immersive Van Gogh exhibition sit in dust-collecting, humidity-controlled storage units. not so long.
what’s happening: The leaders of Blumenthal Performing Arts dream of a new 30,000-square-foot arts center in the city. This new arts center will serve as a space for immersive public events, live performances, and arts education.
Important reasons: Immersive Van Gogh drew more than 300,000 people from across the region to Charlotte and introduced them to fresh ways to experience art.
- According to Blumenthal CEO Tom Gabbard, it has boosted business in the Camp North End and put more than $500,000 into the pockets of local artists through its residency program.
Now, Gabbard wants to create a permanent space to “ride this redefinition of art.”
What to Expect: The space is inspired by projects from around the world, including Spain’s innovative digital arts center Ideal Barcelona. The Troubadour Theater in London operates a semi-permanent and mobile venue. Theater of the Mind, an immersive theater experience in Denver, Colorado.
- Gabbard and his team have traveled extensively in search of inspiration to build a state-of-the-art center that he believes will set Charlotte apart as a leader in the immersive art space.
space: Gabbard and his team searched for a suitable building for over a year to no avail. A good property would look like this in Axios:
- 23,500 to 31,500 square feet, including one large room of at least 10,000 square feet, with no beams obstructing the visitor’s view.
- Located in the city center of Charlotte with easy access to highways and public transportation.
- Plus: Parking for 300 cars.
The Blumenthal leaders are also considering building something from scratch, using the Troubadour Theater as an example. By building semi-permanent mobile venues, the center can reach more locations in Charlotte, reduce costs, accelerate timelines, and build spaces that are perfect for their needs.
cost: A semi-permanent venue could cost about $3 million to $5 million, Gabbard said. The cost of renovating an existing building is difficult to estimate without securing a lease, as it is highly dependent on the space itself.
- One of the biggest costs for such centers is equipment. But Blumenthal already has it.
- “I don’t think this will be dependent on city funding,” he says. “Frankly, cost is the least threat to us.”
Zoom in: Wherever the center is located, Gabbard hopes its programs will have a positive impact on the surrounding communities and businesses.
Charcuterie-turned-restaurant Babe & Butcher was only a few days old when Immersive Van Gogh opened in 2021. “It was a big challenge in many ways,” says co-owner Lindsay Anvik.
- While some familiar faces were seen in the early days, most customers were new and from across the region, she says.
- “We’ve heard over and over from people…they had never been to this part of the city. We, Camp North End, and all the other unique businesses here It was like unlocking a cool secret for them.”
- “our [foot] We have seen a significant increase in traffic and revenue,” adds Anvik. “Our fast he convinced us that the casual concept would work.”
What’s next: Gabbard and his team continue to search for suitable locations, soliciting input from residents and local creators on what they want in a space like this. They’re used to activating quickly — Immersive Van Gogh took just a few months to make it.
When I asked Gabbard if he was worried that these immersive art exhibits were nothing more than a feverish dream driven by “Emily In Paris,” he replied, “Almost everything in art is a trend.” to answer.
- With an arts and entertainment center like this, “you can go with curious people because they will take you to another place,” he says.