Van Gogh's paintings come to life at this incredible art museum. Come take a tour.

Do you remember your last trip to an art museum?

If we're talking typical art museum, you probably walked around an expansive but sterile space, looked at some pretty paintings from a respectful distance, then went to the gift shop to buy a magnet of one of those paintings for your fridge. Okay, I may be personalizing that last part a bit, but you get what I'm saying. On the whole, a day at an art museum can be lovely, but it's often not terribly memorable.

Perhaps that's one reason why museum attendance has been steadily declining across the United States since the early 2000s, especially among the younger demographic. Another might be that, since technology satisfies most of our entertainment whims in the comfort of our homes, it takes something truly extraordinary to motivate us to leave them.


But what if you could literally step into a painting and experience it all around you a la "Mary Poppins"? Something like that would surely be worth the trek.

The Van Gogh exhibit at The Carrières de Lumières Workshop of Lights. Photo via E. Spiller/Culturespaces. Used with permission.

That's exactly what The Carrières de Lumières, an art center in the south of France, is offering as part of a new series of art installations it's doing in collaboration with Culturespaces.

The exhibition, called Atelier des Lumières or "Workshop of Lights," takes the art of well-known artists and styles and creates a totally immersive experience by blanketing the space's 75,000 square feet and 50 foot-hight walls with it.

Right now, and through January 5th, 2020, you can wander through the mesmerizing, and often chaotic world of Vincent Van Gogh.

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

When patrons enter the space, they go on a journey through the different stages of Van Gogh's creative life, which anyone who's seen his work before knows varied significantly.  "The immersive exhibition evokes Van Gogh's inordinate, chaotic and poetic inner world and emphasizes a permanent dialogue between shadow and light," the press release for the exhibit notes.

At this exhibit, you can actually walk through his "Wheatfield with Crows" and see the wind rustling the stalks.

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

Or watch his "Almond Blossoms" rustling in the trees.

Photo via Gianfranco Iannuzzi/Culturespaces.

Then follow them as they blow off into the wind.

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

You can be totally enveloped by his "Irises."

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

And stroll past actual lapping waters in his "Starry Night Under the Rhone."

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

Don't worry, his most famous "Starry Night" is there, too. In fact, it's the star of the show.

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

Photo via Culturespaces/E. Spiller.

If all that wasn't cool enough, the exhibit also has an incredible musical component that takes the experience to a whole other level.

You're basically getting a trip to an unforgettable museum and a trip to the symphony all at once. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more culture-filled experience.

Now while you do have to book a flight to the south of France to witness this immersive exhibit, based on the praise from patrons who've already visited, it's well worth the trip. Plus you'll be in Provence afterwards which isn't too shabby a place to spend a few days.

However, if you (understandably) can't swing an international trip, there are plenty of awesome interactive exhibits and museums you can check out in the states instead. Here are just a few:

Visual art can take on so many different forms, and, thanks to technology and innovation, artists today are busting through the limitations of previous generations. If you step outside your comfort zone and support them, the experience will no doubt leave a lasting impact and remind you that some things are worth leaving the house for.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

A recent Twitter thread highlights life after turning 30.

There's something really scary about turning 30. Society places so much emphasis on reaching your fourth decade of life, giving it more importance than it actually needs. At 30, apparently, you're supposed to have figured out all the big things, including your career and your love life. It reminds me of the movie "13 Going on 30" when teenage Jenna is sitting in the closet repeating "30 and flirty and thriving" over to herself as some sort of mantra. I don't know about your experience, but the concept of "30 and flirty and thriving" for me ended up being a total myth. That's what people are trying to tell a Twitter user who needed reassurance that life "gets better" after 30.

Katherine Morgan, known as blktinabelcher on Twitter, is a writer and bookseller who asked a question of the Twitter hive mind to set her mind at ease.

"I’m 28, so I’m almost there, but can people in their 30s and older please (gently) tell me that it’s going to get better and I don’t need to have figured out my entire life in two years?" she wrote. The tweet took off, with more than 100,000 likes and thousands of replies. While everyone phrased their responses differently, the general consensus was you don't have to have anything figured out before you turn 30.

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Photo from Upworthy Library

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Teddy the two-toed sloth has become a proud papa and thanks to a video posted by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, we all get to witness the adorable reunion with his newborn son.

Mama sloth, aka Grizzly, gave birth to their healthy little one in Feb 2022, which delighted more than 3,000 people on Facebook.



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