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Published: Friday, 5/16/2003

Crowds building up as Van Gogh winds down

BY REBEKAH SCOTT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

If you're going to go to Van Gogh, you'd better go soon - the show closes Sunday.

Expect a crowd when you arrive at “Van Gogh: Fields.” Most weekend tickets to the timed-visit exhibit are already sold. Museum officials decided Wednesday to keep the doors open late Sunday afternoon to accommodate those who put off their pleasure until the last minute.

“If you're in the building by 5 p.m. Sunday, you can get a ticket. You may have to wait a little while, though,” said spokesman Elizabeth Sudheimer. “We'll keep the exhibit open until everyone with a ticket gets his chance. It's looking like a late night!”

Timed-ticket sales limit the crowds to 250 people per half-hour segment, so the galleries don't become too congested and the crowd doesn't overheat. Art lovers who like to linger and wander back to earlier galleries for a second look may have missed their chance by waiting so long.

Museum officials say the show of only 27 Dutch drawings and paintings is in the top 10 draws of the institution's 101-year history.

Through yesterday, it ranked at No. 7, with 91,183 viewers.

“We're pleased at all the buses parked out front and the streets lined with cars,” Ms. Sudheimer said. “We expect a big rush. We want to assure everyone they'll get a chance to see the show. It's the only venue in North America, a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Just don't expect optimal viewing conditions.

The “Van Gogh: Fields” exhibit runs through Sunday in the Toledo Museum of Art. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Timed tickets are available at the museum box office, 419-243-7000. Ticket prices are: Adults $6, or $10 with audio tour; seniors age 65 and over and students age 6 to 18 $5, or $9 with audio tour. Children under 5 are admitted free. Information: 419-255-8000.



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