Meow Wolf, a corporate outlier in the business of arts and entertainment, announced opening plans for Convergence Station in Denver, its third and largest permanent interactive exhibition to date.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—So far in 2021, Meow Wolf has bucked the conservative wait-and-see approach and gone full bore on its expansion plans.
On Tuesday, the arts organization revealed opening plans for its third permanent exhibition of interactive artist-designed rooms. Convergence Station, located near the Denver Broncos’ Empower Field at Mile High, is scheduled to debut to the public on September 17, 2021.
The announcement comes on the heels of a February unveiling of Omega Mart Las Vegas and an expansion of its flagship space in Santa Fe. Though plans for projects in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix didn’t materialize, the now east coast-incorporated Meow Wolf—an arts and entertainment company that’s facing several lawsuits from aggrieved artists and staff members—remains in talks with those cities for potential expansions.
The $60-million Convergence Station, Meow Wolf’s Denver location that’s housed inside a curiously shaped building at Interstate 25 and West Colfax Avenue, is a four-story exhibition with more than seventy installations, rooms, and portals. The 90,000-square-foot space, Meow Wolf’s largest to date, will also include food and drink, retail, a gift shop, and a performance venue that can accommodate more than 450 people.
When Meow Wolf opened its second permanent installation in Las Vegas earlier this year, officials and staff were surprised by the turnout. Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, a 52,000-square-foot supermarket-themed installation at the Area15 retail complex at 3215 South Rancho Drive, launched February 18.
“We sold out the first three months every single day and continue to increase capacity,” says Didi Bethurum, Meow Wolf vice president of marketing.
A month later on March 19, Meow Wolf re-opened an expanded version of the company’s first permanent exhibition on Rufina Circle in Santa Fe. House of Eternal Return now includes three new rooms with works by Corinne Loperfido, Damon Williams, Paolo Puck, and Janell Langford, a Santa Fe graphic artist and designer who created a “design universe centered around the Black-Femme experience.” Meow Wolf Santa Fe also boasts a new gift shop and expanded café.
Other expansion plans didn’t germinate for Meow Wolf in 2021. A 400-room hotel and music venue planned for Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix was scrapped and a sci-fi exhibition at the Art Place at Fort Totten in D.C. has been shelved.
“We’re not going forward with the original projects proposed, but we started really deep relationships in both communities as well as with the developers that we were working with,” says Bethurum. “We’re still exploring other types of opportunities. Whether or not they will be in the same building or whatnot remains to be seen but both areas and communities are of great interest to us.”
Repeated attempts to speak with Meow Wolf co-CEOs Ali Rubinstein, Carl Christensen, and Jim Ward about the company’s successful expansions in Denver and Las Vegas as well as the tabled projects in Phoenix and D.C. were unsuccessful.
In 2008, a group of artists founded the Meow Wolf collective, which presented installations throughout Santa Fe. The modest organization has grown into a vast arts and entertainment company that collected $158 million from eighty-seven investors in 2019 according to a United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing first reported by Albuquerque Business First.
The SEC document shows Meow Wolf—which received a $2.7-million donation from Games of Thrones author George R.R. Martin to transform a vacant Santa Fe bowling alley into the House of Eternal Return—has been incorporated in Delaware since 2016.
“I’m not exactly entirely sure about the whole network of corporations,” Bethurum tells Southwest Contemporary when asked about the location of Meow Wolf’s headquarters.
Meow Wolf has encountered backlash in recent years. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a House of Eternal Return artist sued Meow Wolf for copyright violations while a Denver Westword piece states that staff members have filed suit against the company for alleged discrimination against female and non-binary employees. Meow Wolf officials have refuted the claims.
Meow Wolf, in its press materials, reminds folks that the organization employed 350 artists to sculpt Omega Mart in Las Vegas and more than 300 creatives (110 of those from Colorado) contributed to Convergence Station in Denver. General admission to the new exhibition for non-Colorado residents, excluding taxes, is $45.