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For the past two years, the city has watched Meow Wolf Denver ascend at the intersection between the I-25 flyover to Colfax Avenue and the viaduct. The building started glowing blue and purple a few months ago. But inside the structure is the place where the actual action took place before it opens in the fall – the exact date has not yet been determined.
Many details of this ongoing promotion have also been kept vague: “We’re working on it,” promises a sneak peek video posted on the Meow Wolf website earlier this month. Hundreds of artists were involved, according to a new announcement from Meow Wolf, including 110 Colorado-based creatives working on the permanent immersive art exhibit, which includes large anchorages across four floors of 79 projects representing “dozen of” converged worlds, including portals and wormholes between them. “
And what will this permanent exhibition be called? Like the opening date, it has yet to be announced – although there will be one. Meow Wolf’s groundbreaking immersive installation, which opened in Santa Fe in March 2016, is House of Eternal Return. Omega Mart debuted in Las Vegas in February. Meanwhile, Denver is TBA.
But other facets of the new facility are fixed. No matter what it is called, Meow Wolf Denver will definitely include a live performance arena that can accommodate more than 450 people for concerts and other night events. (Meow Wolf will book it, but it will also be available for private events.) During the day, the arena becomes another experience as guests interact with projections that change in real time based on their movements. For this project, Montreal-based Moment Factory has teamed up with Meow Wolf. New Mexico artist Nate Gutierrez was commissioned to create a mural for the area, and Santa Fe musician Cole Bee Wilson was commissioned to create an accompanying score.
“Moment Factory worked with Meow Wolf to create an interactive experience that transforms the venue into a fascinating space of discovery where guests can explore and influence the art around them,” said Alexandre Lupien, Creative Director at Moment Factory. in an announcement about this partnership.
But wait – there is more! Also on the ground floor is the Meow Wolf Cafe, a fast-paced restaurant that offers both take-away and take-away options. Meow Wolf says it will partner with local food and beverage business owners “who represent the inclusiveness and convergence of cultures that Meow Wolf believes in,” according to the company’s press release. And before they leave, diners can stock up on souvenirs at the 2,000-square-foot Meow Wolf Denver gift shop, which sells over 1,500 items, from T-shirts to one-of-a-kind artwork, many by locals.
“Our most ambitious project yet, the Denver Exhibition, will bow the mind, inspire creativity and touch hearts when we open our doors this fall,” said Todd Richins, Executive Creative Producer at Meow Wolf, in the latest update. “From our partnership with local artists and staff to the retail and grocery areas within our walls, Meow Wolf Denver is an immersive and imaginative one-stop art experience that will last forever.”
From its humble start as a hearty art collective in Santa Fe in 2008, Meow Wolf exploded into the national art scene after the debut of House of Eternal Return. In January 2018, Meow Wolf announced that it would create a second permanent installation in Denver, which was originally planned for early 2020. While that date proved optimistic, Meow Wolf meanwhile partnered with Elitch Gardens to open Kaleidoscape, the world’s first artist-powered amusement park ride, in 2019.
This wasn’t the only wild ride for the collective entertainment company. To cope with the explosion of planned projects in not just Denver but Las Vegas, Phoenix and Washington, DC, Meow Wolf’s management structure shifted and collective co-founder Vince Kadlubek stepped down as the organization’s CEO. He was replaced by a new leadership team: Ali Rubinstein, Carl Christensen and Jim Ward, all relatively new members. While the pandemic slowed plans and resulted in some layoffs and successful union effort in New Mexico last fall, work continued.
The Las Vegas installation was ahead of Denver as Meow Wolf’s second location. Omega Mart opened in Vegas in February and has sold out every day since. (Watch out for news of a surprising connection from Denver with this project.) House of Eternal Return closed over a year ago as coronavirus restrictions closed entertainment venues across the country. After some modifications, Meow Wolf reopened this venue in March. It has also been sold out every day since then.
Check out ticket availability and other Meow Wolf plans by visiting Meow Wolf online.
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; She has been an editor since then. She regularly participates in the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a true journalist in John Sayles’ Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been featured with numerous national for her columns and writing Awards excellent.