The Heist

This week-long experience set around a community “ArtVenture” gallery featured live performances culminating in an interactive heist. Blending elements of digital media and staged performance, the Heist AVAdventure and ArtVenture gallery programming blurred the lines between reality and fiction in a one-of-kind artistic event.

On the night of the big event, all players viewed a video briefing from the heist mastermind outlining key players and specialties before picking one of four crews to team up with for the night: the tech team, stealth team, rookie crew, or diversion squad. After downloading their team leader’s audio files, players embarked on an epic night sneaking past security guards, dodging lasers, and battling an unexpected villain.

This live event was the culminating production in a one week celebration of the arts. In establishing the world and locations for the event, the AVAdventure team opened an ArtVenture gallery, constructing walls within a community space, and curating a gallery of paintings, drawings, metalwork, sculpture, photography, computer art, digital installations, and glasswork.  Works from professional artists were displayed alongside art from college students, grade school students, hobbyists, and inmates from a local prison art program; a wide spectrum of the local arts scene was brought under one roof, uniting local art demographics in a shared space.

The gallery also featured a series of events, including an opening night reception and a wide array of spoken word, film, and musical performances throughout the week: romance novels, Celtic dance, stand-up comedy, children’s literature, experimental rock, slam poetry, and much more came to life in the ArtVenture space.

During this gallery and performance run, fictional characters and story elements from the pending heist interrupted the proceedings.  The fictitious gallery curator welcomed patrons alongside the City of Williamsburg’s mayor and arts speakers, and the fictitious inmate heist mastermind caused confusion during public events.  Online video diaries and ominous PSA announcements leading up to the final heist event also added to the story world, building anticipation.