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Wonderspaces will be showing Squidsoup's Submergence, pictured here during its 2017 run at SMoCA.EXPAND
Wonderspaces will be showing Squidsoup's Submergence, pictured here during its 2017 run at SMoCA.
Lynn Trimble

Wonderspaces Arts Venue Is Coming to Scottsdale Fashion Square

Wonderspaces is opening its first permanent location at Scottsdale Fashion Square in early 2019. The creative enterprise, which brings art to new audiences through ticketed shows, launched with a pop-up space in San Diego during 2017.

Now it’s getting ready to open Wonderspaces Arizona in Scottsdale. “The roughly 16,000-square-foot space at Scottsdale Fashion Square represents our first long-term commitment to a city,” says Wonderspaces co-founder Jason Shin. “This is our first multiyear lease."

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The new arts venue will be situated near the food court on the mall’s lower level, next to Desert Stages Theatre. It’s a space once occupied by Harkins Theatres, which relocated to another part of the mall in late 2015.
Wonderspaces worked with Scottsdale-based Sixty First Place Architects on the design, which includes several galleries and a small bar.

“We expect to open the first show in March or April,” says co-founder Jason Shin. Titled “Point of View,” the show will include 13 installations, including Submergence by Squidsoup, a creative collective based in the United Kingdom, which specialize in interactive, digital media experiences.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art presented Squidsoup’s “Oceans of Light: Submergence” exhibition in 2017. During a nearly five-month run, more than 50,000 visitors saw the exhibition. That's more than the museum's annual attendance for any year since it opened in 1999, according to Scottsdale Arts' 2016-17 annual report.

"Point of View" also includes a virtual reality experience called Dinner Party, plus the following works:

  • Sweepers Clock by Maarten Baas
  • Black Balloons by Tadao Cern
  • Sweet Spot by Shawn Causey & Mark Daniell
  • On a Human Scale by Matthew Matthew
  • Not Myself Today by Partners for Mental Health
  • Come Together by Michael Murphy
  • Blooms by John Edmark
  • A Religious Experience by Adam Belt
  • Daydreams V2 by Nonotak Studio
  • Transition by Mike von Rotz & Joost Jordens
  • The Last Word by Illegal Art

Wonderspaces plans to present three art shows a year in Scottsdale, each comprising more than a dozen interactive or immersive artworks. It’s possible Arizona artists will be featured in future shows.

“We’re hoping to partner with Arizona artists and to present their artwork in shows both in Arizona and in other places,” Shin says. “We have a studio space in Phoenix where we work with artists and learn about their artwork.” Shin suggests interested artists reach out to creative director Kendall Warson, whose email is kendall@wonderspaces.com.

They’re also planning to support Arizona arts organizations. “A portion of bar and merchandise sales will always benefit Arizona arts groups,” Shin says.

Some details aren’t available yet. Shin says they’re still fine-tuning operating hours, and tickets prices haven’t been announced.

Turns out, Scottsdale isn’t the only city where Wonderspaces will be presenting immersive art experiences. They’re also planning shows in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Miami, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

“While we’ve been thrilled with the response to our shows, we believe there’s an opportunity to better serve artists and visitors through spaces that we manage through longer-term leases."

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