Why Just Look At Art When You Can EXPERIENCE It?

Why Just Look at Art When You Can EXPERIENCE It?


“Springfield Museums is committed to offering fully accessible, hands-on, interactive programming, learning spaces, and exhibits to enhance visitors’ experiences in our galleries!”

—Kay Simpson, CEO and President of the Springfield Museums

Van Gogh for All immerses visitors in the works of the world’s most famous painter. Designed to engage 21st-century audiences in the 19th-century art of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), this experientially-rich exhibition uses modern technology and participatory learning to introduce audiences of all ages to Van Gogh’s genius, his personal struggles, and his creative process.

Visitors can literally jump right into Van Gogh’s artwork to discover the unusual perspective of Van Gogh’s bedroom, get behind the shutters of Van Gogh’s yellow house, or become part of one of Van Gogh’s famous landscapes. The exhibit offers multiple photo ops and opportunities to create your own art—with stations for drawing a still life or a portrait. Many of the elements in the exhibition are interactive, offering the visitor the opportunity to manipulate the artist’s work in new ways including through a 12-foot-wide, electronic version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Van Gogh for All offers an entirely new way to appreciate the work of this exceptional artist,” said Maggie North, Acting Curator of Art for the Springfield Museums.

North is curating an exhibit to complement Van Gogh for All. Van Gogh and Japanese Prints will run July 20-October 14th in an adjacent gallery. “Van Gogh was captivated by Europe’s popular fascination with Japanese culture,” North said. He collected and copied Japanese woodblock prints, as well as took artistic inspiration from their vibrant colors and innovative compositions. In an 1888 letter from Van Gogh to his brother Theo, the artist wrote, “all my work is based to some extent on Japanese art.” This focused exhibition will explore the influence of Japanese art on Van Gogh’s oeuvre by comparing reproductions of the artist’s paintings to authentic Japanese prints from the internationally renowned Raymond A. Bidwell Collection at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

“Juxtaposing the two exhibits will give an in-depth appreciation of Van Gogh’s work,” said Heather Haskell, Vice-President of the Museums and Director of the Art Museums. “This is a not-to-be missed special opportunity for our visitors to walk into and experience a Van Gogh painting up-close and also to learn about the artist’s appreciation for Japanese art by viewing some of the Museum’s rarely exhibited celebrated and beautiful Japanese prints.”

Van Gogh for All fits well into the strategic plan for the Springfield Museums, said Kay Simpson, CEO and President of the five-museum complex. “Springfield Museums is committed to offering fully accessible, hands-on, interactive programming, learning spaces, and exhibits to enhance visitors’ experiences in our galleries!” Taking note of the hugely popular interactive and fully accessible Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, said Simpson, we want to continue to attract a wide audience—those who are seeking entertainment as well as those seeking education and art appreciation, she said. “We are absolutely thrilled to be the east coast premier location for Van Gogh for All, especially because this exhibit is dedicated to making art accessible for people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Van Gogh for All and Van Gogh and Japanese Prints will be on display at the D’Amour Museums of Fine Arts from July 20, 2019–October 14, 2019.  

Additional Programming to Complement Van Gogh for All

Saturday, July 20 – Opening day, drop-in activities with the Family Engagement Coordinator Jenny Powers. The Art Discovery Center will also feature Van Gogh inspired projects all summer.

July 8, 1-1:30 pm: Docent Talk: In Bloom
In the Starr Gallery, Adele Gladstone-Gilbert will highlight the juxtaposition of western and eastern floral art while discussing the woodblock prints, wood engravings as well as the botanical sheets from the Science Museum represented in the special exhibition In Bloom: Floral Works from the Collection.

July 15, 1-1:30 pm: Docent Talk: Neo-Impressionism
Gerry Beauchesne will talk about the Neo-Impressionist artists represented in the Leary Gallery such as Maximillien Luce, Gustave Caillebotte and Theo van Rysselberghe’s portrait of Anna Boch, who was the first person to acknowledge the importance of Vincent van Gogh.

July 22, 1-1:30 pm Docent Talk: Self Portraits
Throughout history artists have always painted self-portraits as a method of introspection. Robin Stolk will discuss Arnaldo Roche-Rabell and Carlos Collazo self-portraits in the Modern and Contemporary Gallery and how famed artist Vincent van Gogh painted over 30 self-portraits.

July 29, 1-1:30 pm Docent Talk: Night Scenes
Judy Battista will talk about the nightscape painting by Hermann Herzog in Blake Court, that illustrates the illuminating effect of the lights reflection on Niagara Falls under moonlight in comparison to Vincent van Gogh’s famous nightscape paintings The Starry Night and Night Café.

August 5, 1-1:30 pm: Docent Talk: Van Gogh and Japanese Prints, August 5, 1–1:30 pm
Vincent van Gogh was captivated by Europe’s popular fascination with Japanese culture. Join Pat Bertone-Gross when she discusses the Japanese woodblock prints on view that complement the special exhibit Van Gogh for All in the Wheeler gallery. Free with museum admission!

August 12, 1-1:30 pm Docent Talk: Millet and Van Gogh
Join Kate Belhumeur when she talks about Jean-François Millet’s influence on Vincent van Gogh while discussing Summer, the Gleaners in the 19th Century French gallery. When Van Gogh was interned in a mental asylum in Saint-Rémy de Provence he made over twenty paintings that were “translations” of the work of Jean-François Millet including Siesta.

Thursdays, September 12, 19, 26 (three classes), 6-8 pm
Museum School Class Series: Van Gogh: Print, Paint & Plant $90, Members; $105, nonmembers (includes all materials); Individual class: $35, Members; $40, nonmembers; DMFA. Register for any or all three classes.  Be inspired by Van Gogh’s paintings and the Japanese prints he collected. Each class features wine, light refreshments, and a chance to view the Van Gogh for All exhibit.

  • Print – Wendy Staples; September 12 – Learn simple print-making techniques to create your own sunflower prints.
  • Paint – Tiago Finato; September 19 – Paint a Van Gogh-inspired still life with acrylic paints on canvas.
  • Plant – Heather Sullivan; September 26 – Create a stunning floral arrangement using seasonal sunflowers and mums from Durocher Florist 

Friday, October 11, 12:15-1 pm, $4 ($2 for members of the Springfield Museums) Special lecture by Artist and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biographer Steven Naifeh:
Van Gogh: The Life
Artist and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Steven Naifeh will talk about the book that he and his partner Gregory White Smith wrote on the great Dutch artist, a book that the New York Times called “magisterial” and the Van Gogh Museum called “the definitive biography for decades to come.” He will talk about the ways that Van Gogh’s tortuous but wholly interesting life helps us see his work more intensely and the discoveries that he and Smith made during their ten-year-long odyssey.

 Saturday, October 12: Van Gogh program day for Families

Exhibit produced and designed by the Dolores Kohl Education Foundation, in collaboration with Luci, and fabricated by Ravenswood Studios.

Related programs funded by a grant from the Netherland-America Foundation.

The Netherland-America Foundation