by Dani Williams

Lighthouse Immersive:
San Francisco

Kevin Kopjak

“ I think that’s what Lighthouse Immersive is doing, they are reinventing what art is, it’s not just standing in a museum looking at the Mona Lisa, it’s getting people involved and expanding what art can be.”

Despite the current state of the world, Kevin Kopjak, the San Francisco publicist for Lighthouse Immersive, isn’t slowing down! Ahead of the debut of the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to chat with Kevin regarding his new role with Lighthouse Immersive and how he’s been coping during lockdown.  His bright and positive energy is infectious and might be just what the world needs right now. Kevin manages a variety of accounts that fall into the arts world, some of which include The American Conservatory Theater, Broadway San Jose, Cirque du Soleil, Feinstein’s at the Nikko and most recently Lighthouse Immersive! Kevin’s seventeen plus years in artist public relations with Charles Zukow Associates has a lot to do with his genuine passion for theatre and music, which is reflected in the impressive list of clientele engaged by his firm.  Kevin recognizes that he is one of the lucky ones during the pandemic and is “grateful to be able to hang on to a job and continue pushing the arts out there to people at home.” He currently resides in the bay area in San Francisco, so the weather is on his side and allows him to get out and take advantage of hiking, going for walks and just enjoying some fresh air. 

Kevin was integrated into the Lighthouse family when he met co-founder Corey Ross several years ago to work on bringing the Banksy exhibition to San Francisco. During lockdown, Corey contacted Kevin with “a crazy idea of bringing Immersive Van Gogh to San Francisco”, which Kevin saw as a “glimmer of light”. Lighthouse Immersive has given communities a beacon of light, something to look for, in what feels like overwhelming darkness. Kevin continues to describe Lighthouse as “so unlike a lot of the arts, they are set, they are moving forward and it’s amazing to see the reception since the announcement of the exhibit.” 

The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in San Francisco has already been extended through to September because of an overwhelming number of tickets already purchased. Kevin tells us that “people are definitely excited about it, people have heard of the exhibition through ‘Emily in Paris’ on Netflix and other outlets” and continues to explain that the exhibit appeals to almost everyone, even those who have little or no knowledge of art. He believes that this is a “perfect stepping stone for people who may not be too familiar with fine art” and because of the installation’s use of technology it also reaches a demographic beyond those interested in solely art. 

Along with being immersed in Van Gogh you will also be able to enjoy some good eats on their rooftop patio, purchase art in the gift shop, and be able to talk with local artists showcasing their work on site. San Francisco, being the artsy town that it is, has no shortage of amazing artists excited about sharing their work.  

Kevin is a lover of theatre above all else in the art world. “I’m such a theatre guy, so I’m really into immersive theatre, there was a show that came to San Francisco two years ago called ‘The Jungle’ about a refugee camp, super immersive, you were in the camp, you were sitting at picnic benches, it gives me chills just talking about it.” The art world is constantly changing and according to Kevin, is also becoming more engaging and immersive. 

When asked what new theatre trends have caught his attention, without hesitation, Kevin mentions the amazing Taylor Mac. Taylor Mac is an actor, playwright, performance artist, director, producer, singer-songwriter and an inspirational figure in the art community! Notably, Mac was also a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Taylor, has a holiday show that is spectacular, they’re reinventing what a holiday carol is, and reinventing what a traditional theatre show is. I love all of that, I think that’s what Lighthouse Immersive is doing, they are reinventing what art is, it’s not just standing in a museum looking at the Mona Lisa, it’s getting people involved and expanding what art can be.” 

Art has such incredible power to create change and stir up controversial conversations. We as a community need to work together and encourage one another to keep those conversation going. Art is just one of many ways to do that.

Kevin’s dedication to the arts is part of who he is and he believes it will play an integral part in the rebuilding of a post pandemic society. That being said, his certainty that the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit will have a positive impact on the community, during the pandemic, is comforting to those concerned about returning to social gatherings. “There’s no questions that the exhibition is at the forefront of the reopening and recovery of the Bay Area” says Kevin. The exhibit is expected to open in March of 2021 and Kevin assures that they are working closely with the city and taking every precaution necessary to keep their visitors safe.