2021 was a BIG year for Meow Wolf.
We grew from having one exhibit in Santa Fe to becoming a multi-state business and attraction. The opening of our new exhibitions — Las Vegas’ Omega Mart in February and Denver’s Convergence Station in September — is a testament to the dedication of our employees and our communities. Continuing our work to bring more art to more people (and opening during a pandemic) is a challenge, but we are glad to be doing it together.
Our growth also means more opportunities for impact. We always focus our external efforts on supporting local nonprofit organizations and partners in our communities that serve historically marginalized people. Internally, we focus on supporting our employees and our environmental impact.
Meow Wolf’s efforts are guided by a series of targeted measures informed by our B Corp ethos. We are the only certified B Corp in the themed entertainment industry, and we use this tool to measure our impact and set goals to be a more responsible business. Our efforts and this report focus on four key areas:
One of our largest impact initiatives this year was to verify our B Corporation Assessment. We submitted this assessment in 2020 and have spent the year reviewing our progress and verifying our answers. Though we are not quite through verification, we have improved in many areas and look forward to setting goals for our next recertification.
As we have grown, Meow Wolf remains dedicated to providing positive social and economic benefits to our dedicated team and communities. Our annual Impact Report outlines stories of our support below.
We believe that community engagement is about showing up. As we grew our company this year, we also grew our impact to include actions in Las Vegas and Denver. These opportunities are driven by local employees dedicated to Programming and Outreach who continuously connect with and support our community partners.
Through our work this year, Meow Wolf collectively supported more than 142 nonprofit organizations and community partners, including:
We also believe in the power of art to transform lives, and we donate thousands of tickets to our exhibitions to nonprofit organizations, schools, and people who could not otherwise afford to attend annually. Though COVID-19 has limited our capacity for some exhibitions, we donated more than 31,188 tickets in 2021, including:
In partnership with the City of Santa Fe and spearheaded by District 1 City Councilor Signe Lindell, Meow Wolf’s artists have designed, fabricated, and painted four Little Free Libraries that were installed at public parks across Santa Fe. These pieces will function as part of the Little Free Libraries program, where neighbors can take and return free books, and serve as community art pieces.
Meow Wolf values being a good neighbor to our communities. Our Denver exhibition, Convergence Station, is located in Sun Valley, one of the most culturally rich and diverse neighborhoods in the metro area. This community also faces many challenges, with many families being immigrants, refugees, and the average household making less than $12,000 per year. In all of our Denver initiatives, we have prioritized supporting Sun Valley and have taken the next step by collaborating with the Sun Valley Community Coalition to create our first Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA). This agreement outlines how Meow Wolf Denver will support Sun Valley and continue to be involved in our neighborhood.
Juneteenth is a day of celebration, remembrance, and now a national holiday across the United States. The day signifies the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger read out federal orders in Texas, freeing over 250,000 enslaved people in the last unemancipated state.
To recognize this important day, Meow Wolf collaborated with the Live Above Win Daily Foundation based in Albuquerque to support their annual Juneteenth event. Meow Wolf artist Syd Mejia designed the official Juneteenth T-shirt, and also designed a Didómi water bottle that Meow Wolf sold at the event and in our gift shop. Meow Wolf artist and collaborator Janell Langford designed a T-shirt for her own brand, Obsidiopolis, which was sold at the event, along with her line of prints and clothing celebrating Black women. Meow Wolf also commissioned Albuquerque poet laureate Hakim Bellamy to write an article, General Order No. 3, which was shared publicly on our platform and with all Meow Wolf employees, encouraging folks to learn more about the significance of Juneteenth.
Supporting creative learning and the next generation of students is core to Meow Wolf. This year we offered a variety of educational programs to people of all ages through our partnerships. We intend to grow in the coming years to expand our program offerings.
Our artists and employees contributed more than 100 hours of time, with some of our highlights including:
We’re artists who love collaborating with and supporting local and emerging artists. We work with artists in a variety of ways, including in our exhibitions, as contractors, as performers and in special community projects, with our goal being to pay a living wage and to support the greater creative economy.
In total, Meow Wolf commissioned and worked with 273 collaborators in 2021, including:
Our Denver exhibition, Convergence Station, is our largest to date with 4 floors of interactive art making up dozens of unique environments including rooms, wormholes, spaces, and Meow Wolf’s signature portals. It took more than 300 creatives to create these spaces, with more than 115 from Colorado.
This year, Meow Wolf worked with internationally-recognized artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya to support a series of murals celebrating women in science. Funded by the Heising Simons Foundation, Amanda’s murals are inspired by women at the cutting edge of research in subjects like dark matter, metaphysics, and so much more. Together, Meow Wolf and Amanda produced murals in Denver and Albuquerque to inspire students.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the growing challenges facing our modern world. E-waste contains a laundry list of chemicals that when disposed of improperly can be harmful to people and our environment. This is why we teamed up with Goodwill of Southern Nevada to recognize International E-Waste Day by creating a unique art sculpture to encourage people to dispose of their e-waste responsibly!
Together, we commissioned Las Vegas artist Luis Varela-Rico to create a one-of-a-kind sculpture entirely out of e-waste provided by Goodwill, and hosted an e-waste drive for the public. Varela-Rico’s sculpture, appropriately named “Pikai: Saving the Earth from E-Waste”, will be a testament to the importance of proper recycling for years to come.
Nonprofit SaveArtSpace has a mission to support artists and has featured 399 artists on 696 billboards across the United States, and their list now includes Las Vegas, Nevada! Meow Wolf worked with SaveArtSpace to secure advertising space across the Las Vegas Valley, and hosted an open call for local artists to be featured on the billboards. We selected 10 local artists whose work was installed on the billboards this fall, and we created a mini-documentary to showcase their incredible work!
Meow Wolf has been a fan of artist Corinne Loperfido for years. Her work uses recycled and found materials to create beautiful art, environments, attire, and much more. This year, we worked with Corinne to produce a series of public videos to educate and inspire. Together, we have completed two videos on Rethinking Materials and Compostable Art Materials for artists and families to enjoy.
Sustainable growth that respects our environment is important to Meow Wolf’s impact in our local communities. We are actively tracking energy and water used at all of our facilities, and we are in the process of calculating our carbon footprint.
This year, Meow Wolf continued to invest in solar panels installed at our House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. These panels were originally installed in 2017 and have continued to produce clean energy for usage at our facility.
In 2021, these panels produced 166 MWh of electricity, which equates to saving 118 Metric Tons of CO2 from entering our atmosphere. Meow Wolf will continue to explore solar energy as an option for all of our owned buildings.
Trash and waste are piling up at landfills across the country and in our oceans, harming our environment and wildlife. It’s also piling up in our neighborhoods and communities, and Meow Wolf is actively taking steps to clean up these spaces. We participated in more than 10 volunteer opportunities focused on cleaning up our environment, including:
Meow Wolf has started to target items used everyday in our facilities that contribute to greenhouse gasses. This year, we identified the aerosol cans used in freshening our restrooms as a source of emissions that can easily be mitigated. We installed the NoMO Air Purifier and Deodorizer inside all of our restrooms at our manufacturing facility. This is chemical-free freshening using activated charcoal, which can be used with the swipe of a hand. These are also battery-powered and can be recharged as needed. We have eliminated aerosol cans!
We create fantastical worlds and stories that showcase a variety of artwork and artistic mediums. Though Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return utilizes a lot of recycled and found materials, one of our biggest challenges with new projects is creating work that is up to fire code. Fire-rated materials must be used in new installations for the safety of our employees and visitors, which makes reusing materials a challenge.
This year, Meow Wolf has prioritized using recycled and found materials while creating one of our new projects. We established a goal of using 30% recycled or reclaimed materials on this project, and we have exceeded our goal. This project will help inform our creative approach towards future permanent exhibitions in an effort to create more green artwork.
Our team brings passion, creativity and experience to their work every day, and we truly would be lost without them. This year, we grew our employees and are now home to nearly 1,000 Shrimps!
As our company expanded to new cities, we hired 630 new members to our team in 2021, with the majority hired as part of our new operations at Las Vegas’ Omega Mart and Denver’s Convergence Station. All employees are paid a living wage and are provided with benefits including healthcare, 401k plans, and flexible work schedules.
Meow Wolf’s employees are the best around. We aim for our employees to be involved with our community partners through volunteer opportunities to get our teams engaged across all of our locations. Several of our employees donate their time and resources not only by attending volunteer opportunities organized by Meow Wolf, but also by serving on boards of organizations and donating their time for artistic contributions such as leading workshops, graphic design, photography, etc.
It’s important for Meow Wolf to foster an environment of learning and inclusion. We prioritized opportunities for all of our employees to expand their knowledge in a variety of areas, including:
Our employees are some of the most creative people around! Though many of them do not work as artists in their daily jobs at Meow Wolf, we know that many of them are artists and creators whose work deserves to be recognized.
We partnered with the First Friday Arts Festival in Las Vegas this year to showcase the incredible artwork of six of our employees. For most, it was their very first time publicly showing and selling their art. Our Las Vegas Artist Liaison, Robin Slonina, walked all the sponsored artists through the process of creating their exhibition, setup, and vending, and successfully shared their art with the community.
We also revamped our conference room in Las Vegas to be a rotating employee art gallery. This will change seasonally and feature the work of our amazing employees.
In 2020, Meow Wolf voluntarily recognized the Communication Workers of America (CWA) as the union bargaining entity for the Meow Wolf Workers Collective (MWWC). Leadership at Meow Wolf and the MWWC are actively working together to identify solutions for our team. They have been actively bargaining all year, and we look forward to finalizing an agreement.
Meow Wolf has always promoted a culture of inclusion and belonging, and we know there is continual work to do to ensure that our organization is an inclusive and welcoming place for all employees. We are actively engaging employees in an IDEA working group that includes Human Resources, Attraction Operations, and Social Impact employees! This working group helped create and implement a diverse recruitment strategy, helped to implement training for our employees, and generated goals for our work. We will continue to invest and grow our work with IDEA principles integrated into our company.
2021 has been a whirlwind year for Meow Wolf. Our company grew tremendously to operate and support our newest exhibitions.
We are now home to nearly 1,000 employees and have 3 exhibitions open - Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return, Las Vegas’ Omega Mart, and Denver’s Convergence Station. Collectively, 1.5 million visitors passed through our doors this year to take a journey into the explorable unknown … and see some sweet art.
We’re excited to take the next step as a multi-state business in 2022 and see what’s in store for Meow Wolf and our communities. As we expand the impact of our exhibitions, we remain committed to bringing more art to the world, to inspire creativity, and to transform our worlds.
Cheers to 2021!