“If Casa Bonita and Disney had a baby, that baby would be Meow Wolf:” Convergence Station in Denver is Meow Wolf's most audacious project to date
The 90,000 square foot creative Mecca hosts 79 artistic environments by 300 artists.
It’s hard to describe Meow Wolf to someone who hasn’t seen it; a labyrinth of alien habitats, kaleidoscopic cathedrals, Corinthian catacombs and gritty cityscapes — to say the least. Before you question whether you should have listened to more Neil Degrasse Tyson or taken one more tab of LSD during #PhishDicks, the mind-bending journey through Meow Wolf is pleasant and fluid, immersive and adaptive. Once inside, your logical brain can’t help but take a back seat as your senses transport to another world not coveted by cocketship Billionaires. For Denver, a city that appreciates its vast artistic culture almost as much as its avocado toast, Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station stands as an independent reminder that beautiful things can emerge when you give artists a budget, a blank canvas and a storyline. Then set it and forget it!
During our visit, the best description we heard for Meow Wolf came from local Denver artist Scott Hildenbrandt when he casually explained, “If Casa Bonita and Disney had a baby, that baby would be Meow Wolf.” At that moment, before we even stepped foot inside the 90,000 square foot creative mecca resting comfortably in the apex of I-25 and Colfax, we realized everything we thought we knew about Convergence Station was about to get turned on its head. And it did…
Some back story, the theme of Convergence Station, Meow Wolf’s third installation, is a complimentary storyline to the other two Meow Wolf Installations: House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe and Omega Mart in Las Vegas. With Denver’s installation, according to the Chief Creative Officer, Ali Rubinstein, they pulled out all of the stops to accommodate the 300 artists, 79 unique environments and four floors of immaculate detail. When asked if it was hard to keep the artists and the project within budget, CFO, Carl Christensen put it elegantly, “Yes.” (see: working with creatives).
But we digress. To understand the underlying unique storyline for Convergence Station and the subsequent portals, wormholes, and anchor spaces you’ll need to have part wild imagination and part sci-fi cosplay to follow. Stay with us here: *inhale large breathe* It all started when a freak cosmic event merged four worlds from different universes, erasing the memories of all residents, and spawning the mystifying disappearance of four women. The Quantum Department of Transportation serves as a gateway to these diverse worlds: kaleidoscopic cathedrals, Corinthian catacombs, lush alien habitats and dazzling and gritty cityscapes… *exhale breathe*
Don’t worry, it took us a minute to process what we just heard. Rooms of coded music, rat street-fighting video games, and throw-back Denver landmarks make up a small part of the cosmic labyrinth, leaving you to question whether you truly knew the definition of creativity until you dove, head-first down the rabbit hole of Convergence Station. When someone remarked that they felt like a dog in a squirrel museum, we knew we weren’t alone saying “wow” over and over again like it was the night we lost our virginity. Yet with all of the stunning installations, the most mind-boggling part of the entire experience was walking back into the lobby of the exhibition where sober signs reading “restrooms” almost felt like the game/acid trip was over, and for the last two hours, we were not of this world. It was Monday again, and TPS reports were due.
On the way home from the exhibition, contemplating if we should quit our jobs and build kaleidoscopic cathedrals for a living, it was easy to see why Denver was the location for such an amazing feat of talent and creativity. The city has a deep artistic culture with art pieces on every vacant alley wall, electric box and new restaurant. Art statues and installations line the newest neighborhoods accenting the community. It’s a city where the old meets the new; the playful precedes practical. Meow Wolf built upon this cultural foundation of pushing the envelope. It too will soon become a staple of the Denver cultural scene, just like our other favorite staple, Casa Bonita.