Comprised of over 200 full-time employees and hundreds of collaborators, Meow Wolf creates and supports art across a variety of media. Here, RLI sits down with Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer Ali Rubinstein to learn more about the company and the immersive and interactive experiences that they build.
Meow Wolf is an arts and entertainment group based in Santa Fe, New Mexico that was established in 2008 as an art collective. They currently operate House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico and created an artist-driven ride at in Denver, Colorado called Kaleidoscape that is operated by Elitch Gardens. They are also opening new attractions in Las Vegas and Denver next year.
Despite the current market conditions and the difficulties being faced by companies across the world due to the effects of Covid-19, the core objective remains the same – to open mind blowing and immersive creative exhibition experiences.
“What has changed is that we are now focused on health and safety in our current and future locations,” explains Ali Rubinstein, Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer. “All of our current and future exhibitions will implement the safety practices and protocols you would expect, such as temperature checks, mandatory PPE and touchless ticketing.”
The company is currently working towards opening its second permanent installation, which is set to launch in early 2021 in Las Vegas. Called Omega Mart, it will become the anchor experience at AREA15, the recently opened immersive retail and entertainment complex that brings art and technology together.
“Our Denver exhibition is also due to open later in 2021, and we are spending countless hours building our roadmap for the future, which will grow our brand both domestically and internationally.”
Away from these scheduled openings, the business is looking to expand in cities that have a rich art and culture scene where the brand can engage with local artists to build exhibitions that reflect the creativity of the city, and they are currently in the development phase on multiple properties that will bring the concept closer to the East Coast.
With an incredible team that spans across multiple artistic and technology driven disciplines, Meow Wolf is committed to making the highest quality immersive experiences.
“We utilise technology, art and storytelling to bring guests into subversive new worlds that inspire imagination and creativity. We also continue to collaborate with artists, internal to our company, locally in connection with our exhibitions and across the globe who bring unique perspectives and techniques to each of our new projects,” says Rubinstein.
Each exhibition that they bring to fruition is a unique experience, incorporating vast narratives that are intertwined with the physical experience. Each location will feature artist collaborations that reflect the local arts community and guests will see and learn something new at every installation, whilst repeat visitors will always find new discoveries.
Visitors will discover on-site that they can dive into the narratives as deeply as they wish and the sites invite a choose-your-own-adventure form of discovery format that encourages exploration and play.
With social media now playing a pivotal role for businesses around the globe, this platform is used to build a community of fans and people who love art and immersive experiences in general. They have been experimenting with all sorts of new ways to engage, inspire and entertain during the pandemic.
“We put together a Meow Wolf At Home series on YouTube, with tutorials from our artists, as well as live Q&As with some of our favourite artists on Instagram. Throughout the pandemic, content such as this allowed the company to have a human feel and continue to connect with its worldwide community whether or not they have been able to visit the House of Eternal Return yet,” explains Rubinstein.
Since the onset of Covid-19, digital strategies and experiences internally and externally within their exhibitions have been enhanced, and they have in fact just finished a fun project with Infinite Playa, one of the recognised virtual worlds at the annual Burning Man event. This involved the building of a 3D digital version of a key element of their future Denver Exhibition, connecting it to six portals, 3D collaborating artist worlds and even the streaming of live shows.