MEOW WOLF DENVER: THE ELEVATION
By Dave Jasmon
Published Issue 085, January 2021
Our biggest and baddest permanent location is on track to open in 2021. Get a glimpse at what we’ve been up to in Denver.
Fresh on the heels of our Meow Wolf Las Vegas Progress Report, we’re happy to share the latest updates on Meow Wolf Denver. This might be an overwhelming quantity of blood-tingling, art-soaked energy for you, but such is life in America’s 2020.
Located just outside of Downtown Denver, our third permanent installation is a natural thematic successor to Meow Wolf Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return and an experience completely unique to Las Vegas’ Omega Mart.
What Is Meow Wolf Denver?
We never want to spoil the unparalleled feeling of pure, nonlinear cosmic discovery that makes a Meow Wolf project, but we can share a few tasty nuggets about the Denver experience. For instance, you’ve probably noticed that the building’s exterior is mostly complete. Or, maybe you remember that Cathedral we digitized for Burning Man’s The Infinite Playa? Well, the real (physical) deal is now fully installed in Denver, along with many other impressive pieces of the massive exhibit. According to Senior Creative Director Chadney Everett, “Not only is the construction of the exhibit and all the elements within it on track, but it’s moving really quickly. Every day there’s new things up in there.”
Meow Wolf Denver will be nearly twice the size of the Las Vegas installation, but Everett points out that there’s still space set aside to “grow and incorporate more Denver artists.” Regarding current representation, there are 110+ local artists — not including Meow Wolf’s in-house artists — 51 percent of whom are women, 38 percent people of color, and 20 percent identifying as LGBTQ+. As for Meow Wolf’s artists, they remain hard at work in Denver and Santa Fe constructing, sculpting, and producing materials for the immersive story experience.
So, what about the story? What is it and how will it be told? Everett says, “We are right now in the process of finalizing our stories, and we’re on track to produce a lot of exciting filmed content and animated content.”
Saudade and The Cosmohedron
While Meow Wolf Denver continues to explore a variety of digital mediums for storytelling, the backbone of the upcoming location remains physical art, including sculptures from artists like Santa Fe-based Elana Schwartz. Schwartz’ “floopsing” creature — named “Saudade” — was created with a steel armature covered in lathe, tinfoil and Raku.
She describes Saudade as a “solitary, majestic creature” whose species is exploring new dimensions for the rare fruit that was wiped from their lands. The rich backstory that Schwartz created for her sculpture is indicative of the narrative depth that visitors can explore beyond the physical surface of the Denver exhibit.
However, just because a piece of Meow Wolf art becomes a physical piece of an installation doesn’t mean it was designed in a workshop. Consider “The Cosmohedron” in Denver, which Senior CAD Designer Adrian Velasquez calls a “giant, virus-like metal structure.” Velasquez uses algorithms to create 3D models, making the design for The Cosmohedron a largely automated process and saving “months of time” on calculating geometry. The convergence of Velasquez’ and Schwartz’ efforts are a microcosm of Meow Wolf’s dedication to honoring all approaches to artistic creation, while pushing the boundaries outward in every direction.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Last, but certainly not least, we’re happy to announce that we have fulfilled more than half of our commitments to our first Corporate Social Responsibility plan ahead of schedule. Created in 2018, Meow Wolf’s (CSR) plan outlined 20 commitments to the Denver community. These commitments — such as establishing a 15-member community advisory committee to convene monthly — were informed by meetings with community stakeholders examining best practices and determining where our investments would have the greatest impact. We targeted four areas of impact including respect for creative communities, respect for collaborating artists, respect for our environment, and respect for our employees.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many challenges to our company, we remain on track to fulfill our complete list of commitments by late 2021. By that point, if all goes according to plan, we’ll be seeing you all in Denver!
THIS FEATURE WAS PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MEOW WOLF.