Submerge yourself in bliss this weekend with a new, immersive exhibit
This month, the Depot Art Center’s Bliss Hall will be turned into an immersive, interactive exhibit aptly titled “Submerged in Bliss.” It’s the latest project from three local artists, Kim Keith, the executive director of Steamboat Creates, Jennifer Grathwohl and Ben Wood.
“I’ve always wanted to do something that’s an immersive experience,” said Grathwohl. “Not just something you look at but where the art is all around you and you’re in it.”
The trio decided on an immersive exhibit because of the growing participation in the ‘experience economy,’ explained Keith. After meeting the founders of the popular immersive arts and installation exhibits “Meow Wolf” at a Creative Industries Summit, Keith had been inspired to create something similar.
“People have a craving to experience creativity,” she said. “Immersive experiences provide personal enrichment and connectedness through shared experiences.”
Wood, who is a sophomore at Steamboat Springs High School, has been to all three Meow Wolf locations, in Denver, Las Vegas and Santa Fe. He used resources and ideas from those exhibits to work with Keith and Grathwohl in creating a similar, smaller experience locally.
“We’re creating the feeling that you’re in a kind of indoor reality and the creativity goes behind the art,” Wood said. “When people are in there, I imagine them seeing new ideas for themselves. It’s not meant to look cool or be pretty, but I expect people to come up with their own ideas and carry those out. It can be a whole chain.”
The exhibit will be divided into four mini “rooms” which visitors can walk through. Each room has a different theme; the first is a forest filled with trees that Wood created from cardboard and other material; the second room was created in stark black and white contrasts; the third is known as the cloud room – featuring a swing hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room – and the fourth is the “stuffy room,” filled with just under 1,000 stuffed animals.
“We wanted it to be as weird and wild as some of the other exhibits we’ve seen but also to make it approachable,” said Grathwohl.
What: Submerged in Bliss
When: 5-8 p.m., Friday, May 6. Exhibit runs through May 28.
Where: Bliss Hall in the Depot Art Center
In a selfie-obsessed culture immersive exhibits often lead to increased social media interaction and content sharing, noted Grathwohl.
“We don’t really have anything like that here in Steamboat,” she said. “I’m curious about how people will feel about it. We’re not necessarily trying to convey something but we’re definitely trying to create an atmosphere.”
The exhibit will be ticketed and tickets can be purchased for $10 at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/submerged-in-bliss-tickets-320864814297?aff=efbneb
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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