In 2008, a group of young residents founded Meow Wolf: an Artist Collective with the goal of bringing alternative art to Santa Fe. In the beginning, gallery shows and music events were held in leased commercial spaces, but they decentralized in 2010.
The group focuses on collaboration between artists in order to create elaborate art installations that feature interactivity, narrative, and immersive art.
It wasn't until 2016 that Meow Wolf opened The Meow Wolf Art Complex, their first permanent art space. The building hosts their first permanent installation, House of Eternal Return.
As part of their mission, Meow Wolf wanted to teach the practices of collaborative arts, so they formed CHIMERA in 2011. One year after it opened CHIMERA created a collaborative art installation with almost one thousand Santa Fe students. "Omega Mart" was a fictitious grocery store packed with hand-made satirical items. The group purposely built the installation away from the arts district to make it accessible to a more diverse crowd.
Meow Wolf is also known for shows they have built outside of Santa Fe. This includes an installation called "Glitteropolis" at the New Mexico State University Art Gallery that used 50 pounds of glitter! In 2013, they created "Nucleotide" in Chicago, a pastel cave-like installation on display at the Tomas Robertello Gallery.
Meow Wolf's permanent location and installation was made possible by the city of Santa Fe, a crowd-funding campaign, and none other than author George R. R. Martin who pledged $2.7 million to the cause. The space was created in a vacant bowling alley and opened March 17, 2016. The main exhibit is the House of Eternal Return, which received an award from the Themed Entertainment Association in 2017. Check it out in the video below!
Cover image "Meow Wolf, Santa Fe" by Mary Madigan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.