Immersive art exhibit premieres in US at Utah’s Leonardo

Participants enjoy the new immersive space of the Leonardo Museum. (Pauline Pena)

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – As the ongoing pandemic has forced many art spaces to close their doors, the Leonardo has emerged realigned with a spirit of creativity and innovation.

“Every cultural institution had just come out of a very dry spell because COVID not only shut us down, but a lot of exhibits stopped rotating and so the Leonardo really took this time to say, ‘What’s that important to us? “” said Mia McCain, senior marketing director.

While he was primarily concerned with the question of when, the Leonardo had focused on the question of how.

“We didn’t plan to exist the same way as before. We thought, ‘How do we have to change? The world has changed and how can we better come out of this other side?’” Said McCain.

Mimicking his namesake, Leonardo da Vinci – a Renaissance mathematician well versed in many subjects – the museum turned to the combination of art and technology for its answer and emerged with the first digital immersive space of the state.

While the Utahns may have experienced other immersive digital art exhibits like “Beyond Van Gogh,” the new space is the first permanent. The 10,000-foot space filled with a number of searchlights was partially funded by the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunities.

“I know how much COVID has disrupted our cultural sector. So, seeing an organization emerge with new ideas and offerings, new partnerships and new technologies is a wonderful testament to the magic that can happen when the courage and innovation of community organizations like the Leonardo are sustained and amplified. ” Utah Governor Spencer Cox said in a video as the space opened.

The new digital space was launched with the exhibition “Art through experience: from Monet to Kandinsky”.

Nearly 40 wall and floor projections present the work of several masters of modernism, including Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Edvard Munch and Wassily Kandinsky. The artists’ works are associated with training in art history organized by professionals.

The exhibition premiered in early November marked its first appearance in the United States, with previous exhibitions in Europe and Asia. The choice of a Utah institution for the premiere is a testament to the state’s growing status, McCain said.

“We’re kind of the crossroads of the West. A lot of people come here for a lot of different reasons – like the tech industry – who aren’t native people and I think they’re desperate for some form of culture that might exist in New York or LA We are answering the call for those resources, ”she said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cox.

“Utah is known for its innovative spirit, as well as its tech sector. So it’s a suitable place for one – that we are using technology and digital media to bring content to life and bring content, ranging from works of art like the show you will see today, to a wide range of STEM topics, ”Cox said.

The Leonardo, which is located at 209 E. 500 South in Salt Lake City, now also features “Italian Renaissance” as well as “From Monet to Kandinsky”. When the space is not being used for art exhibits, it can be used for immersive K-12 learning experiences.

The immersive digital space helps expand accessibility and understanding of art and science, McCain said.

“When you take it out of its museum context and put it in the context of the world, you make people curious and excited to explore how creative they can be as an individual,” he said. she declared. “We are starting to discover how we solve global problems, how we start to communicate better and how we become creative and innovative and that is really the essence of Leonardo.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


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