Meow Wolf is an art collective. Like the borg, but much less scary.
They have a wonderful patron, one of my favorite people: George R. R. Martin. Favorite because Game of Thrones.
He recently helped them purchase a defunct bowling alley in Santa Fe so they could turn it into a permanent exhibit space.
Can you spot the kids?
Their new permanent exhibit, House of Eternal Return, just recently opened, and we went to see it.
Saying that we went to see it implies something of a more traditional art installation, which this is not. It is probably more accurate to say that we went to explore it. We climbed on it. We crawled through it. We touched it. We breathed parts of it in.
Meow Wolf doesn't just create paintings. They create the worlds of paintings that are so real that you can step right into them and experience them as if you were a part of the painting. On an enormous scale.
So this house. It's a Victorian House that you can go inside, and there are all the rooms and all the things that you would expect to find in a house. There are books on the shelves and you can read them. There are beds in the bedrooms, and you can lay down and nap in them. There are board games and you could play them. Typewriters, fans, silverware, pots, pans, and even a fish tank with fish.
But, there are all sorts of hidden passages. Everywhere. And they lead to the most incredible worlds. You can walk right into the fridge (totally blew Kevin's mind). There is a secret passage in the fireplace. One leads you into the very same fish tank you saw in the living room:
There are so many many many worlds, and you just wander around, and you end up in new ones, and then you end up back in the house, and then you explore the house, and then you find a secret passage to another wonderful world.
This is their Yeti.
Lex looking down into a mammoth ice cave.
A tree house bunk.
This city area had a stage set up at one end, and there were live bands performing. It was the perfect fusion of art and music.
When Connor found this grand piano, he sat down and just started playing the Morning song by Edvard Grieg from memory. I didn't even know he could do that! And suddenly he was totally a part of the art, and people were listening to his impromptu recital. I was so proud of him, and he didn't even think he was doing anything special. He was just in this place, doing something he loved, because it was there and it was inspiring.
I think this may have been my favorite room. Well, other than all of my other favorites.
After we had explored everything (we thought), we left the exhibit and hung out in one of the maker studios. There are two on site. One is definitely more for adults, and it is equipped with all sorts of sewing machines and 3D printers and industrial art supplies. And you can go in and make whatever you want, whenever you feel like it.
Another one was made for kids, and it had endless supplies of paper, cardboard, paints, crayons, makers and all the art supplies. There were also blocks of all sorts and sizes. Connor and Lex built huge structures with these giant foam blocks.
And we really needed the time to decompress and process after the exhibit. Everything in there is so foreign. It's definitely sensory overload. We see so much of the same in our every day lives, that being thrown into such a magical world is exhausting.
Of course, once we rested, we went back in for a second go round. Because, as Connor put it, "It is the most wonderful place in the entire world."
This, from a kid who has been to both Disneyland and Disney World. So, that's saying something.
And I'll say this: The House of Eternal Return makes good cause for a trip to Santa Fe, all by itself.