Immersive art finds a permanent home—in Tsawwassen

The Da Vinci Experience is just the first of several shows coming to Tsawwassen Mills mall.

Credit: Michael McCullough

The highlight of The Da Vinci Experience is a floor-to-ceiling audiovisual show

The Da Vinci Experience is just the first of several shows coming to Tsawwassen Mills mall

If Imagine Van Gogh at the Vancouver Convention Centre whetted your appetite for the new style of “immersive” projected art show, get ready for a whole series of such attractions rotating in a semi-permanent exhibition space—and it all comes with free parking. The Da Vinci Experience, a multimedia spectacle featuring the art and ingenuity of Leonardo da Vinci, opens Tuesday at Tsawwassen Mills shopping centre.

The show makes its only North American appearance courtesy of Sensea Immersive, the Canadian partners of CrossMedia Group, a Florence, Italy–based production company that already has 14 such events, mostly based around Old Master artists, in its catalogue. When Da Vinci finishes its run next spring, a new show will come to the suburban outlet mall.

Sensea principal Mick Kelly said he started looking for space in downtown Vancouver but was won over by Tsawwassen Mills, operated by Ivanhoe Cambridge on Tsawwassen First Nation land. “This facility is perfect. It has 22-foot ceilings,” he says.

Credit: Michael McCullough

Da Vinci’s Last Supper explained

Visitors make their way through four rooms featuring models of da Vinci’s inventions; an in-depth look at his famous fresco The Last Supper; a floor-to-ceiling projection of his art and scientific exploration; and finally, a room where visitors can don virtual reality headsets and imagine themselves in Renaissance Italy driving his prototype of a tank or flying his version of a helicopter. The content reminds you that the artist’s bread and butter was really working as a defence contractor, the General Dynamics or Lockheed Martin of his day.

CrossMedia uses the word “edutainment” to describe its shows. “For the kids, this is the best way to start” learning about history and art, says Sensea Immersive partner Gabriel Perez, who brought this particular show from Mexico City to Metro Vancouver. Adult tickets start at $26.