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Making a splash in Denver’s already crowded arts scene is no easy task—yet that’s exactly what Vince Kadlubek and the rest of the Meow Wolf team did on Thursday when Kadlubek announced that they would be breaking ground on a new immersive arts space in the Mile High City later this year.
The Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Meow Wolf began as a DIY collective in 2008 and has since grown into a national arts and entertainment company. It’s perhaps best-known for its House of Eternal Return, which combines multiple art forms to create one non-linear story inside a 20,000-square-foot space—once home to a bowling alley—in Santa Fe.
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Although details of what Meow Wolf will have in its Denver exhibit are being kept under wraps for the moment, in a press event on Thursday morning, Kadlubek’s team shared plenty about the building itself.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Construction is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2018, with an expected completion of sometime in 2020.
- Meow Wolf Denver will be located on Colfax Street right next to I-25 and will be surrounded by viaducts on three sides.
- The building’s five stories encompass 90,000 square feet of space, two-thirds of which will be dedicated to immersive art. That means the exhibit here will be nearly three times larger than Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return.
- The remaining 30,000 square feet will house a bar, cafe, some offices, and a music venue (capacity of 800 people) that will regularly host live performances.
Kadlubek says they’ve worked hard to make sure Denver artists benefit from the project, and to minimize the negative impact local communities could feel because of this new development. In fact, the team spent months surveying potential spaces throughout the Denver metro area with members of the local real estate community.
“We really focused on making sure our space didn’t knock down homes or displace families,” says Merhia Wiese, one of several members of Denver’s art community who’s helping to make Meow Wolf’s arrival in Denver as smooth as possible. “We were careful to make sure our arrival didn’t cause property values to rise in areas where that would cause problems. That’s why we chose the property we did.”
In 2017, Meow Wolf sponsored local festivals such as CRUSH and Maker Faire Denver. They also partnered with Denver Arts & Venues in March 2017 to invest a total of $40,000 to improve the safety of the Mile High City’s DIY arts venues. The partnership came after Oakland’s Ghost Ship Fire prompted the city to close two local DIY spaces—Rhinoceropolis and Glob. Kadlubek says he was inspired by how Denver’s creative community fought to retain those DIY spaces, and hopes that Meow Wolf can contribute to those efforts.
“We’re going to hopefully be one of many creative venues,” Kadlubek says. “But we’re one piece of a larger puzzle that will be part of an ongoing process to keep providing creatives in this city with a place to show their work.”
Get Involved: While Meow Wolf Denver won’t open until 2020, those who are interested in supporting the project and being the first to experience the new space can buy lifetime passes ($10,000), opening gala tickets ($1,000), first week tickets ($50), and early bird general admission tickets ($25) now at denver.meowwolf.com.