A world premiere, immersive experience featuring the art of Spanish artist Salvador Dali has opened at The LUME in Stanley Marketplace. “Dali Alive” is a multi-media and multi-sensory creation that features 500 images of Dali’s work, a musical soundtrack, spice-filled aroma dispersion, an “infinity room” with a hall of mirrors, and a studio where visitors can draw on large sketchpads. It was designed by Grande Experiences, which also created “Van Gogh Alive”—a show that brought 80,000 visitors to Stanley Marketplace in 2021.
Salvador Dali (1904–1989) is perhaps best known as a painter. His work “The Persistence of Memory,” which featured melting clocks, has become synonymous with surrealism. But Dali also experimented with sculpture, photography, and films. Jonny Beavan, one of the creators of the exhibit, is confident the artist would have loved this kind of large, immersive spectacle. “He was the ultimate showman—he loved playing tricks on people with his art. So that’s what we’re doing here.”
Jeff Cornelius, head of commercial operations for Grande Experiences, says behind the spectacle is a lot of hard work—including close consultation with the Dali Museums in Spain and Florida. “This takes thousands of hours of work to bring the 2-D paintings to life. And our partnership with the Dali Museum was extremely important to give context to all of his work.” A 40-minute digital projection displays the art while also telling about Dali’s life as an artist as he moved from Spain to France to the United States and back to Spain.
The idea behind all of the immersive exhibits created by Grande Experiences is to make the art very interactive so it is especially appealing to younger people. “We want to excite them about art and show them art in a new way. We want to take them out of stuffy museums to see how exciting art can be,” says Beavan. He quickly adds that immersive exhibits are not designed to replace museums but are designed to inspire people to learn more. “We want people to explore what kind of art they like, what really speaks to them, and then ideally they will go to museums and galleries for more.”
In addition to creating immersive exhibits that tour the globe, Grande Experiences has established two permanent galleries for digital art experiences: one located in Melbourne, Australia and one in Indianapolis. With “Dali Alive,” the company is launching a third permanent gallery that will be housed at The LUME in the Stanley Marketplace. The LUME has taken over the former hangar area and has expanded it to 15,000 square feet.
The idea for the permanent gallery was hatched during the pandemic, when many events that had been booked in the hangar were canceled. The Van Gogh exhibit and “CARNE y ARENA,” a virtual reality show about immigration, were able to use the hangar space successfully during pandemic restrictions because people could wear masks and socially distance.
Mark Shaker, founder of Stanley Marketplace, says establishing a permanent immersive gallery will bring more stability to the marketplace and will help all of the shops prosper. “It brings a stable crowd to the marketplace all day long and it attracts people who have never been here before.”
Many of the Stanley shops have embraced the idea of having a permanent immersive gallery as a partner. For “Dali Alive,” restaurants are featuring specialty Dali-inspired foods and drinks, and stores are featuring Dali-themed gifts.
Nic Farrell, owner of Mondo Market, has created a special charcuterie board with Spanish meats and cheeses. He’s also looking forward to working with other Stanley vendors to cater special events for the Dali exhibit. “It’s what keeps things from being stagnant. A lot of times in business we do the same thing over and over, but these big events are what keep things fresh and original.”
“Dali Alive” is scheduled to remain at The LUME through January, but that timeline couild be extended. It is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, and available for private bookings on Mondays and Tuesdays. Ticket prices begin at $34 for adults and $19 for children.
For more information, visit www.thelumecolorado.com.
Front Porch photos by Christie Gosch