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Beyond Van Gogh exhibit inches closer to opening in Victoria after rocky start

The permit needed for the immersive art show has been approved, pending a public hearing

Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Beyond Van Gogh exhibit inches closer to opening in Victoria after rocky start

The permit needed for the immersive art show has been approved, pending a public hearing

Top: Location of the proposed Beyond Van Gogh exhibit building in Vic West. Below: An artist's rendering of the exhibit. Photo: Submitted
Top: Location of the proposed Beyond Van Gogh exhibit building in Vic West. Below: An artist's rendering of the exhibit. Photo: Submitted
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Beyond Van Gogh exhibit inches closer to opening in Victoria after rocky start

The permit needed for the immersive art show has been approved, pending a public hearing

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Beyond Van Gogh exhibit inches closer to opening in Victoria after rocky start
Top: Location of the proposed Beyond Van Gogh exhibit building in Vic West. Below: An artist's rendering of the exhibit. Photo: Submitted

The long-awaited Beyond Van Gogh show is one step closer to actually opening in Victoria but there is still no date for when it will take place.

The event, which is being produced locally by Paquin Entertainment on behalf of Beyond Exhibitions, has been postponed multiple times since its initial opening date in October 2022. Ticketholders, in the intervening months, have been left with more questions than answers.

It turns out the paperwork for the permit needed to open the show was not submitted to the city until Nov. 21, weeks after what had been advertised as its opening date.

A similar exhibit—Van Gogh’s paintings projected onto the gallery walls and accompanied by classical music—was first hosted in Vancouver two years ago. According to the Imagine Van Gogh website, the concept was first pulled off in Paris by creators Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron in 2017, after which they brought it to North America.

Beyond Exhibitions, the separate company responsible for the Victoria exhibit, has been advertising the launch of another Van Gogh location in Surrey in less than two weeks.

‘No explanations’

Harmony Riann’s partner first surprised them with VIP tickets to the Beyond Van Gogh exhibition back in September. The show was set to open at 355 Catherine Street, a Vic West property owned by Bayview Place and slated for redevelopment.

It was supposed to be the site of their anniversary celebration in October. But then the date started to change, and never really stopped changing.

“Three days before it was supposed to open, we got the first email, saying ‘We're going to be pushing it back,’” Riann said.

In early November, people who had purchased tickets were informed the Nov. 11 opening was being pushed back to Nov. 25 due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

Two days before the exhibit was rescheduled to open in November, the couple got another email telling them it was going to be pushed to sometime in December. Since then, it’s been crickets.

Though tickets haven’t been on sale since at least September, the event organizers kept their social media pages active, leading several would-be patrons to voice their suspicions of a potential scam in the comment sections. It’s not a scam, however—just paperwork.

The company began discussing requirements for the show with the city in August 2022, according to Colleen Mycroft, Manager of Executive Operations and City Communications. But the application for the required temporary use permit was not submitted until Nov. 21.

Victoria council unanimously approved the permit request on Thursday, but that is just another step in the permit process. Next, the issue will go to a public hearing—Mycroft said the city will work with Paquin to set a date. If granted, Paquin will be able to set up a 2,400 square foot tent at the site for 130 days. The company plans to run the attraction six days per week from 10am to 9pm.

Riann and her partner have been holding onto their tickets in the hopes that the exhibit will launch someday. A spokesperson for Beyond Van Gogh told Capital Daily they plan to honour those tickets.

“As soon as the new dates are confirmed we will make an announcement and reach out with instructions for rescheduling to all current ticketholders,” they said in an email.

Beyond Van Gogh did not answer questions about how many tickets they’ve refunded in time for publication, but Riann said getting a refund has been a hassle for those who want one.

Online, the reactions have been mixed, with some comments decrying the business for not being communicative and not refunding their tickets, while others said they got their money back as soon as they asked for it.

“We didn't really hear much from them. We have no explanations as to why it was being put off,” Riann said. “It’s been really disappointing because we were really looking forward to it.”

contact@capitaldaily.ca

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