Working at HONOLULU Magazine sometimes gives us a chance to get an early look at events in our community: from the opening of local eateries to cool art exhibitions our partners bring to town. And that just happened with Beyond Monet: The Immersive Experience swirling daily at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
If you made it to last summer’s Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, you have a feel for what this one will bring. But with a very different artist to focus on, don’t be surprised if your group splits opinions on their favorite of the two.
We’ve got some tips to help everybody make the most of this artsy experience.
1. Book your ticket in advance
Tickets are sold online only, not at the door. Entry times are staggered in 15-minute increments from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the exhibit closing one hour after the last entry time (it takes about an hour to experience it). Click whichever date you’re interested in at monethonolulu.com to how many spots are open.
2. Show up on time
The exhibition is designed with staggered entry to allow guests time to savor the experience. If your slot is at 10 but you show up at 10:15, the 10:15 slot may be sold out and because of capacity limits, the exhibit hall may not be able to let you in right away. If you need to reschedule, do so at least 24 hours in advance and pay an $8 rescheduling fee. Or you can buy a premium ticket which allows you to enter up to two hours before or after your scheduled start time as long as it’s during normal exhibit hours. Masks are optional.
3. For the cheapest tickets, get a group to go during the week
Off-peak times (Monday through Thursday) are $10 less ($4 less for kids ages 5–15) than weekends and holidays. For the best deal, go with a group of eight—it’s $29.99 per person during the week. Check for deals for students, seniors and the miltary, too. Find the full breakdown of ticket prices at monethonolulu.com
4. Plan your parking
It’s $12 (cash or credit) to park at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. A nearby shopping center provides free parking to those who visit the merchants and restaurants. So maybe buy a post-exhibit meal or refreshing beverage if you saved on parking.
5. There are three parts to the exhibit
You start in the garden of artist Claude Monet. Empty hanging frames give the impression you’re moving between the frame and the artwork, slowly immersing yourself into Monet’s vision. Panels offer a quick brush-up on Monet’s life and the style of impressionism that help inform the visit. Oversize flowers contribute to the immersion. Monet enjoyed painting in the open air and capturing natural light often painting a series as observations of the same subject, viewed at various times of the day. The shimmery hallway opens into the main attraction: a large room with projections of some 400 Monet’s works.
6. Hang out in the immersive space as long as you want
The paintings loop, swoosh and change for about 40 minutes before they repeat. So note what you see on the floor and walls when you come in so you know when the sequence starts over. You’ll see the famous Water Lilies series, Impression: Sunrise, and Poppies. Additional quotes appear in English and French. You don’t have to rush out when the series finishes but you get more out of the experience when you let all the segments wash over you. Some parts called out to me, such as the crashing waves, while my daughter absolutely loved the lighthouse segment.
7. Check it out your way
Move around the exhibit to see different views and angles. Stand in a corner to get one view, stroll on one of two bridges for another perspective. If it’s not too busy and you won’t get stepped on, sit on the floor to can take it all in. An original musical score further enhances the experience.
8. Take photos and videos but also look around
Yes, you’ll want to take photos and video but organizers ask guests not to use flash, which spoils the dreamy vibe. And feel free to share your photos on Instagram by tagging @honolulumag and @monethonolulu. But remember to just look around, without the help of any device to immerse yourself and just be in the moment for a little while.
9. Exit through a cool gift shop
The chill-museum-on-a-hot-day ambience continues in the gift shop, with fun shirts that include collaborations with local artists, books, puzzles, mugs, posters and more. There’s a fun photo opp with umbrellas and a small sitting area just past the gift shop if you’d like to linger in the air conditioning before heading back outside.
Tickets are currently available for entry times daily now through July 31, Hawai‘i Convention Center, 1801 Kalākaua Ave., monethonolulu.com, @monethonolulu