Meow Wolf and Its Surreal, Immersive Art Experiences Are Heading to Grapevine

Founded in 2008, Meow Wolf began as a collective of Santa Fe artists, writers, performers, and architects. Today, at permanent installations in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Denver, Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive experiences "that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration."

In 2023, Meow Wolf plans to do just that in a new location at Grapevine Mills mall, followed in 2024 by another permanent installation in Houston's Fifth Ward.

Meow Wolf is as strange, imaginative, and deliciously weird as its name implies—as millions of visitors to its installations in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Denver would tell you. But you don’t have to take their word for it. Next year Meow Wolf is opening an outpost right here in North Texas, at the Grapevine Mills mall in Grapevine.

Founded in 2008, Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive art experiences “that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration,” the company says. It began as an informal collective of Santa Fe artists, writers, performers, and architects who developed Meow Wolf’s “distinctive style of immersive, maximalist environments that encourage audience participation.” 

Meow Wolf’s original location in Santa Fe, New Mexico [Photo: Michael Samples]

Meow Wolf spent several years opening temporary immersive experiences, around themes like “Horror,” “Habitats,” “The Moon is to Live On,” “Glitteropolis,” and more. 

Then, in 2016, Meow Wolf created a permanent installation, House of Eternal Return, in Santa Fe—a 20,000-square-foot venue that’s part immersive art installation, part learning center and concert space. Two million people have visited it since the doors first opened, the company says.

Last year, two more permanent installations popped up as Omega Mart in Las Vegas and Convergence Station in Denver. Each Meow Wolf location requires a budget of “in the tens of millions of dollars” to build, Meow Wolf CEO Jose Tolosa told the Dallas Morning News.

Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin is an investor

Investors in Meow Wolf have included “Game of Thrones” writer George R.R. Martin, who helped get the first installation in Santa Fe up and running. Meow Wolf has since been recognized as a leader in the global immersive space. It’s been ranked on Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies and awarded the #1 spot for Live Events.

Now a door is set to open in Grapevine Mills mall

Meow Wolf’s original location in Santa Fe, New Mexico [Photo: Michael Samples]

Uh, not that door above, that’s at the one in Santa Fe. No, Meow Wolf plans to open the doors in 2023 to an as-yet-unnamed permanent installation at the Grapevine Mills mall in Grapevine, which is owned by Simon Property Group. Meow Wolf will be “reclaiming” the 40,000-square-foot space of a big box retailer. You can guess what the location used to be by Meow Wolf’s announcement for the new project: “Beyond, Beyond, and Beyond.” 

So why open in a mall? “We love malls, and have always loved malls,” Meow Wolf says.

“Malls have been such an incredible and weird part of the American story, especially for a lot of us that grew up in the ’80s and ’90s,” Meow Wolf cofounder Vince Kadlubek, who calls himself an ’80s kid, said in a statement. “It’s an exciting thought that these spaces could be filled with incredible art and immersive experiences, opening a new era of opportunity for the creative economy. We felt like Meow Wolf could help lead the way.”

Local North Texas artists are being recruited by Meow Wolf to help create its Grapevine Mills experiences, with the goal of inspiring “creativity through art, exploration, and play so that imagination will transform the world.”

Grapevine Mills chosen over sites like Deep Ellum and the Dallas Arts District

[Rendering: Meow Wolf]

Grapevine Mills mall is no stranger to things experiential: It’s currently home to The Escape Game, Lunar Golf, Round 1 Bowling and Amusement, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium.

But that’s not the only reason why Meow Wolf decided to plant its North Texas flag there.

“Meow Wolf has always been about making art accessible to as many folks as possible, and in areas that may not have as many artistic offerings,” Kadlubek said of the Grapevine Mills site. “We could’ve easily considered areas like Deep Ellum or The Arts District, but thought this was a great opportunity to impact a whole new audience with our work.”

Texas native returns to immerse us all

Meow Wolf’s original location in Santa Fe, New Mexico [Photo: Michael Samples]

One of Meow Wolf’s cofounders, Senior Creative Director Matt King, moved to New Mexico after high school, where he fell in with the art collective that would later weave its spell for millions.

“Fast forward to today and we have grown that little art collective into a pioneer of the immersive arts and entertainment industry with a mission to build community through art,” King said in the statement. “I could not be happier to bring Meow Wolf back to the place that I grew up to be a positive addition to my first community.”

Fifth location is slated for 2024 in Houston  

Meow Wolf isn’t stopping in North Texas with its Lone Star expansion. They plan to open another permanent installation in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward in 2024. 

You can see more about Meow Wolf and its experience by visiting its website here

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