Through the Looking Glass at IX Art Park

If you’re a fan of immersive and weird art exhibits, such as the Museum of Ice Cream (which swept the nation by storm in 2017), then you absolutely must visit the Through the Looking Glass exhibit at IX Art Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. This colorful experience is the first and only permanent immersive art exhibit in Virginia and was created by over two dozen local artists. Supporting local artists? Sign me up, please!

As you enter the lobby of the exhibit, you will see an old-fashioned bookshelf in front of you, which is actually the secret exit of the experience once you go to leave. The entrance is through a door on the left. As you head into the first part of the space, an enchanted forest, you will see hanging flowers, greenery, and colors that immediately greet you. This enchanted forest has a beautiful floral throne seat, a swing, hanging flora and fauna, a treehouse, and many other things to touch, play in, and explore. Oh! One of the most important things to mention- this exhibit is hands on! You are encouraged to touch, feel, explore, and play!

Then, you move through the kaleidoscope cave, filled with changing colorful lights and artistic lines. This trippy passageway lets you out in an interesting display of stationary scarecrows that have scenes of water being projected around them. If you go back into the forest from the left side of the cave, you will walk through my favorite part of the exhibit which includes painted trees that have mystical cats, owls, and mice hiding in them.

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If you head to the right after the cave, you’ll find a cozy cottage in the trees, one that you can hide in. It scratched my medieval itch in just the right way. The exhibit itself, being made by over two dozen artists, is a nice array of styles and colors. I like that each little section of it has its own personality and theme. While they all merge and fit well together, you can still tell the individual style of each artist based on each section, and I think that’s a wonderfully important thing when it comes to art.

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From there, you can enter into the bar and lounge space. We had such a fun time in the bar there! There’s a station where you can use mirrors to draw your self portrait. There’s a station where you can scratch out designs on black paper and make your own art. And there’s also a watercolor station. This area encourages you to create art while you are surrounded by bright colors, projections, and professional art forms. There was a projection of a running robot and one of a tiger that amused us greatly while we were lounging in that room. There’s a stage there which is used for occasional events, and the bar had many Alice in Wonderland themed drinks that were uniquely delicious.

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I will say, my description does not do this place justice. It’s a beautiful artistic experience that perfectly combines the unusual with the work of modern art, and it’s a must-see if you are in the Charlottesville area. Be sure to walk through the exhibit, try your own artwork in the lounge area, and get a drink before quietly sneaking out of the bookshelf back out into the real world. It’s an experience like not other.

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it.

While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.”

Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book.

In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel.

Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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