Meow Wolf’s flagship House of Eternal Return museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico has become a model for what can be done with an immersive art location. It’s been wildly successful, making millions of dollars of profit, and helping catalyze an expansion plan that includes as many as 15 new locations over a five year period thanks to being able to raise over $158 million in investments.
They’re on the bleeding edge of the experience economy, and potentially starting to pioneer experiences for the following transformation economy (as predicted by Pine and Gilmore). Rather than scraping by on non-profit donations and grants, Meow Wolf has embraced business as a form of artistic expression, and I had a chance to unpack it with Kadlubek at the end of the Immersive Design Summit 2019 (which has since rebranded to the Here Summit & Festival and will take place March 27-29, 2020).
We had a chance to talk about the complicated dynamic between artistic integrity and avoiding the pitfalls of capitalism. Kadlubek found it easier to raise money as a business than writing grants, and he hopes that Meow Wolf hopes to serve as a model as to how they can work from within the structures of capitalism to transform it from within using their artistic temperaments.
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