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Immersion art startup Meow Wolf picks Denver to expand

Posted at 11:46 AM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 21:21:18-05

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Creators of a popular immersive art entertainment project in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday announced a push into a major metropolitan market with plans for an interactive exhibit and music venue on a highway-side property in an industrial downtown Denver neighborhood.

The for-profit arts company Meow Wolf said it will launch a new business venture to build a kaleidoscopic walk- and crawl-through exhibit for all ages, under a 20-year lease in partnership with Denver-based commercial real estate developer Revesco, which operates a nearby urban amusement park.

A new five-story building, spanning an area larger than a football field, is scheduled for completion by early 2020, offering the offbeat public attraction near stadiums for Denver's major league sports teams, the Children's Museum of Denver and the city's Downtown Aquarium.

The Denver venture will provide a major financial and creative test for Meow Wolf and its growing staff of about 200 artists, technicians and project developers. CEO Vince Kadlubek describes them as the "corporate version of an art collective."

He estimated overall investment will reach $30 million or more and compared it to the budget of a major motion picture.

Meow Wolf plans to seek additional investors later this year, with an offering that could involve equity in the company or debt obligations or both.

The company last year raised nearly $1 million by selling off-exchange shares to employees and small-scale internet investors to fuel its expansion and equip a manufacturing and video production facility in Santa Fe.

In Santa Fe, the company has coined a new brand of family entertainment that combines eye-popping psychedelic design work — that lends itself to shared images on social media — with narrative storytelling.

Artistic details of the Denver exhibit remained largely a mystery. It will be three times the size of the Santa Fe project.