What do Claude Monet’s Woman with a Parasol and “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” have in common? In the real world, nothing, but in Doraville, everything.
Both are housed in the newly opened Exhibition Hub Arts Center in Doraville, 5660 Buford Hwy., and both are sure to entertain, surprise, and intrigue even the most ardent fans of Monet and the “Star Wars” saga.
“The Fans Strike Back: The Largest Star Wars Fan Exhibition” features the largest private collection of official “Star Wars” items assembled by fans and collectors from around the world. The exhibition opened Nov. 11 alongside “Claude Monet: The Immersive Experience” at its new, 50,000-square-foot Exhibition Hub Arts Center in Doraville, 5660 Buford Highway.
John Zaller, the exhibition center’s executive producer, said the two experiences are “a wonderful way to appreciate great art and great pop culture.”
“It’s a great outing during the Christmas season and everyone will find something that connects with them,” Zaller said. “We are finding that people are making a day of it and going to both exhibits.”
More than 60,000 people have visited the hub since its opening, according to Zaller, which makes the company’s decision to make Atlanta its home base a great business move.
“We intend to make Atlanta the launching point for all future exhibits that will then go to our other 15 venues around the world,” Zaller said. “We are thrilled to be in Atlanta putting down roots.”
The “Fans Strike Back” is the result of one fan’s desire to assemble every single facet of the “Star Wars” universe, including life-sized and miniature replicas of the characters in each film, even down to the height, hometown and species. (Did you know that Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter on the “Star Wars” set before being cast as Han Solo, and that in every film, the words, “I have a bad feeling about this” were spoken?)
Zaller said the “Fans Strike Back” exhibit, with more than 600 pieces, is owned by Daniel Prada, who started collecting movie memorabilia at the age of 10.
“When he was 14, he got bitten by the ‘Star Wars’ bug, and sold all of his other collections and concentrated exclusively on ‘Star Wars’,” Zaller said. “Not only that, but he started creating some items that you can see in this exhibition, some of which took years to build.”
The Monet experience is equally hyper-focused on the artist’s life, with more than 400 pieces of his artwork displayed throughout the venue. It includes a replica of his painting room, with some of his memorable quotes sprinkled about the area.
“All I did was look at what the universe showed me, to let my brush bear witness to it,” one reads, while another laments, “I am only good at two things, and those are: gardening and painting.”
The exhibit culminates with an immersive room that displays a pictorial history of Monet’s career that is truly mesmerizing, with soaring music and innovative transitions that show his progression as an artist.
The VIP ticket allows one to enjoy a 11-minute virtual reality experience that will thrill even the most jaded teenager or cranky uncle. One “walks” through rooms, “enters” paintings, and “floats” along the rivers, train stations and fields that inspired Monet’s art.
For more information about the Monet exhibit visit https://monetexpo.com and https://thefansstrikebackexhibition.com/atlanta/ for the “Star Wars” experience. There is a 20 percent discount for those who visit both experiences on the same day, according to Zaller. The exhibitions, with no firm end date, will at least run through the spring.