Roosevelt Row, which is located in downtown Phoenix, was named one of the nation's best art districts several years ago. More recently, it's been an epicenter of developments that have displaced community creative spaces.
This will be the first hotel for Meow Wolf, a Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment group specializing in immersive and interactive art experiences. Meow Wolf began in 2008, as a small collective of Santa Fe-based artists.
They’re creating the space in partnership with True North Studio, a real estate development firm headed by Jonathon Vento. True North Studio is based at monOrchid, a creative space it recently purchased from Wayne Rainey.
True North Studio and Meow Wolf announced the news during a private screening for a film called Meow Wolf: Origin Story, which took place at monOrchid on Friday, February 22. If you missed it, you can buy tickets for FilmBar screenings happening on Saturday, March 2, and Tuesday, March 5.
Meow Wolf is pairing a 400-room hotel with an immersive arts space comprising a 75,000-square-foot exhibition area. The exhibit space will include a 10,000-square-foot music and performance venue.
Hotel rooms will be designed by artists. Meow Wolf has not announced how those artists will be, or have been, selected. But they expect the rooms to reflect diverse overnight experiences, such as faux-glamping, capsule rooms, and absurd luxury suites. Lodging inside the actual art exhibition space will also be available.
True North Studio is also developing the Cambria Hotel at 222 East Portland Street. Recently, they issued a call for art inviting proposals from artists for various creative elements for the space. The Found:RE Phoenix hotel, an adaptive reuse project by developer Habitat Metro, opened in fall 2016 with creative components including exhibition spaces and rooms featuring works by local artists.
The other four are listed as 809, 813, 817, and 821 North Sixth Street. No plans for those properties have been announced to date. Wolverine Oz incorporated on December 13, 2018, according to public records on file with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The records list Vento Holdings and Wolverine Renewable Energy as managers for the company, described in corporate filings as a real estate, rental, and leasing company.
Meow Wolf will join a growing list of creative businesses bringing large-scale immersive arts experiences to metro Phoenix. And it signals a trend happening in and beyond metro Phoenix — arts and culture as entertainment, and big business.
Walter Productions, a Scottsdale-based enterprise renowned for giant art cars shown at Burning Man, opened its massive Where?House creative space in fall 2018. Bill Tonnesen's immersive underground art space called The Lavatory opened last fall, as well. California-based Wonderspaces will opens its first permanent location, inside Scottsdale Fashion Square, on Friday, April 5.
Once completed, the Phoenix creative space will be one of several permanent Meow Wolf installations around the country. Meow Wolf launched its 20,000-square-foot House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe in 2015. This year, their second permanent space will open in Las Vegas. They're also working on a permanent installation in Denver, and plan to open a Washington, D.C., space in 2022.
Vince Kadlubek, co-founder and CEO for Meow Wolf, is clearly expecting great things for the Meow Wolf space in Phoenix. Kadlubek shared his perspective in a press release issued shortly after the February 22 film screening. “This project is going to be truly monumental on so many levels.”