Virtual reality exhibit takes you inside the world of Dali

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A new exhibit is changing the way people see and experience art through virtual reality.

The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida partnered with downtown Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency for a first-of-its-kind experience, bringing one of Dali’s surrealist paintings to life and allowing the public to walk through the landscape.

“Sometimes people's perception of art, with a capital A, is 'Oh, it's not for me,' 'it's exclusive' or 'it's just some old painting on a wall,’” said Amanda Thompson, the director of the Community Redevelopment Agency. “We know there's a national trend of merging arts and technology.”

The city wants this exhibit to showcase how approachable art is by bringing art to the community in a new way.

Clearwater visitor Loraine Rossati is from the United Kingdom and came across the exhibit online while trying to figure out what to do in town.

“I've never done it before, and I didn't know what to expect. But it's total immersion into an alternative universe,” said Rossati.

The virtual reality goggles and headset allow people to connect to art in a new way.

“It feels like you can see the ground and usually I have this horrible fear of falling. But I felt completely safe where I was,” said Rossati. “I've been to Dali's castle in Spain, and I've seen the statue of the elephants there. This is a whole new level.”

Organizers hope the experience will inspire visitors and locals to seek out even more art.

“I hope that this is everyone's first VR experience, and they love it and they come back again and again,” said Thompson.

The exhibit is free and open now through the end of June. Thompson said the next step is adding augmented reality that will take you outside the building to different spots of downtown.