The course of opening an immersive art experience in the middle of a pandemic never did run smooth, but at long last, Meow Wolf’s Denver exhibit has an opening date. The arts and entertainment company announced today that the public will be able to explore its third permanent installation starting September 17.
More clues about the new experience’s theme arrived along with the opening date. The installation will be called Convergence Station, and like other Meow Wolf installations, a mysterious narrative accompanies the art: “Twenty-five years ago, a freak cosmic event merged four worlds from different universes, erasing the memories of all residents and spawning the mystifying disappearances of four women,” reads the press release. “In this hotbed of interplanetary cohabitation, memories serve as both currency and the key to unlocking the story behind the women’s disappearances and cause of the convergence—as do multimedia clues that reveal themselves to all of the senses.”
The details of those four worlds—“kaleidoscopic cathedrals, Corinthian catacombs, lush alien habitats, and dazzling and gritty cityscapes,” per the press release—spring from the minds of more than 110 Colorado artists and 200 internal Meow Wolf artists. Seventy-nine different projects made by the team will fill a four-story building in the Sun Valley neighborhood. At 90,000 square feet, the structure at 1338 1st Street will be Meow Wolf’s largest permanent installation to date.
“The common theme that I always hear about Colorado and Denver specifically is that we’re a super collaborative city,” says Annie Geimer, Meow Wolf’s Denver artist liaison who grew up in the Mile High City herself. “I really love that we’re known for that. The art community in Denver is really vibrant. We’re really excited to share all their artwork because they’ve been working so hard.”
Meow Wolf’s first exhibit, the House of Eternal Return, is a trippy blend of art forms set in a 20,000-square-foot former bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That installation’s unique ability to challenge the viewer’s perspective while weaving together a complex, overarching narrative garnered the art collective national acclaim, making the anticipation for its Mile High City plans, first revealed in January 2018, quite high. At the time, the company expected to complete the project in 2020, but the arrival of the COVID-19 virus altered those plans. Having to close the Santa Fe location in accordance with safety mandates cut into the company’s cash flow.
Trouble arose for Meow Wolf even before the pandemic, though. In 2019, Meow Wolf Denver’s director of community outreach, Zoë Williams, and Denver artist Mar Williams (no relation) filed a suit in Santa Fe District Court alleging that the Meow Wolf discriminates against women and non-binary employees. That lawsuit, along with another gender discrimination suit filed by two former Meow Wolf employees in Santa Fe, was privately settled.
Investors also criticized the company for forcing a buyback of shares purchased by supporters on Wefunder, an online crowdfunding service (Meow Wolf’s contract with Wefunder allowed the buyback). Despite the press surrounding both incidents, Meow Wolf opened its second permanent location, called Omega Mart, in Las Vegas this past February.
For its part, Convergence Station employs more than 150 people so far and will include a music venue with a 450-person capacity, a cafe, retail space, and a gift shop. Tickets ($45, with a $10 discount for Colorado residences) can be purchased at tickets.meowwolf.com.