As another year begins, I cannot help but reflect on the surprises 2022 brought. After heading up Meow Wolf’s social and environmental impact for nearly five years, I have seen us grow and change - and 2022 continued to astonish me in new ways.
There was a lot of joy we celebrated, including our exhibition anniversaries. Las Vegas’ Omega Mart turned one on February 18. Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return turned six on March 18! Denver’s Convergence Station turned one on September 17!
There were also times of great sorrow, as we lost Meow Wolf co-founder and creative visionary, Matt King. Matt’s impact on Meow Wolf and all who come through our doors will live on forever.
But no matter what new surprises come our way, I know that Meow Wolf faces them together. We are a community of artists, creatives, business leaders, and fans from around the globe.
So - what happens when we bind together? What happens when we invest in art and creativity? What happens when we collaborate with others outside our walls?
Let’s review a few of our favorite ways that Meow Wolf made a positive impact in our communities throughout 2022.
One of our largest ongoing efforts for corporate responsibility is being a Certified B Corp. Meow Wolf knows that B Corp status meets the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, and ensures we are committed to doing business for good.
This year, we were honored to be recertified as a B Corp. And not only that - we increased our score by 37%.
Meow Wolf’s corporate responsibility efforts are guided by a series of targeted measures informed by our B Corp ethos. We use the B Corp Assessment as a tool to measure our impact and set goals to be a more responsible business. Our efforts focus on four key areas:
Respect is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but often the act of respect is left to fade into the background. Lost among deadlines, family stress, and screen time, respect can go the way of the dodo bird. Respect may seem old fashioned to some, but at Meow Wolf we feel that respect will never go out of style.
Read more about Meow Wolf’s B Corp efforts in our B Corp Public Profile. Or more about Meow Wolf as a B Corp here. We are also proud to say we are one of the only certified B Corp in the themed entertainment industry!
At its core, Meow Wolf is a community. Started by a group of friends in 2008, the collective-turned-company has grown to support our permanent exhibitions and communities in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Denver, and Grapevine (debuting in 2023). We respect that each community is unique with its own histories and needs.
It’s not enough for us to open an exhibition in a community and merely exist. We want to be an active participant in the nurturing and growth of our community. That’s why we focus our community efforts by partnering with nonprofit organizations with local roots who are already making a positive impact on the local arts community. We also prioritize working with organizations who are led by and serve historically marginalized people.
We have an awesome program that is now in its third year, which is having employees select from 11 nonprofit groups located in each of our communities to direct company funds to. More than 364 employees participated and Meow Wolf has contributed $8,650 to the following organizations:
Meow Wolf believes all people have the right to love whomever they choose, and we actively support LGBTQIA+ people across all of our locations. We do this year round through targeted partnerships with organizations who serve LGBTQIA+ people, including:
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) remains a priority for our organization. We are in the process of exploring a more expansive and inclusive approach to this work. We know that inclusion and equity are about all of us and not the work of just one person.
Our entire senior leadership team is now enrolled in the eCornell Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate Program, which began at the start of 2023. We are also forming an Employee Belonging Council which will be made up of employees from across Meow Wolf who will advise our CEO and CPO on how to move forward with and create new initiatives to continue to grow our IDEA culture.
In November, we began giving access to LinkedIn Learning, which has dozens of helpful IDEA courses. Since then, 219 of our employees have requested access and 403 hours of training have been logged so far.
In 2022, we also implemented a diversity recruitment strategy to increase applicants from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. We added optional demographic questions to all open positions on our careers page, and created a policy to review the applicant pool demographics and analyze the data prior to interviewing candidates.
We increased our racial and ethnic diversity of our entire team - at the end of 2022, 41% of our employees identified as BIPOC.
2022 was a year of loss for Meow Wolf. In addition to the tragedy at Club Q, we suffered insurmountable losses of fellow Meow Wolf employees, including our co-founder Matt King.
Time and time again, Meow Wolf has demonstrated that our strength comes from togetherness. Navigating through grief is made just a bit easier when you have people around you who just get that sometimes there are no answers or magical healing words. However, support and strength can come from binding together and healing through remembering what they taught us, the art they created, and by sharing these memories with one another.
Mental health has become a key focal point at Meow Wolf. If you or someone you know is in crisis or would like emotional support, you can dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Hotline, or visit 988lifeline to access several resources, including resources for loss survivors.
Taking care of our employees and making sure they have the support and resources to take care of themselves is our top priority. Our Benefits department grew and worked diligently to create a comprehensive benefit package for employees and their families. Full Time Meow Wolf employees will have many new and improved benefits to choose from in 2023. For example:
Meow Wolf is proud to offer a competitive pay and benefits package to our employees, including a 23%+ higher rate of pay than minimum wage.
This year's Engagement with Safety, Security & Wellness initiatives have been productive and action oriented. We hosted virtual meetings with the goal of identifying opportunities to improve our security and safety measures, with a focus on supporting the Trans and LGBTQA+ community. The impetus of these came from thoughtful discussions during our all company meetings.
The meetings were led by an advisory council comprised of of individuals across the company to help inform the conversation and to put words into action. We met monthly, in either an open forum style or were led by panels of subject matter experts.
The focus of the meetings have primarily been to discuss the safety and security concerns that arose after the announcement of new exhibition sites in Texas, as well as to follow up on a general sentiment of a lack of awareness for marginalized community members across the company.
We created and distributed an information packet that includes site contacts for safety & security, what to do in the event that you need support, construction site information and a HUGE local resource guide for folks coming into the Grapevine/Dallas-Fort Worth area to work. To answer the concerns about Meow Wolf in Texas, we also prioritized the hiring of a Safety & Security team at the Grapevine site. Security guards are currently on site to assist in the event they are needed and also to monitor who is coming and going from the construction site.
Things to come as we continue this work in 2023:
We’re artists who love supporting other artists. We strive to hire hundreds of independent artists to work with us each year - on our exhibitions, through events, marketing, production, design, and much more. We know that Meow Wolf plays a big role in elevating the importance of artists, and we do this everyday by hiring and supporting independent artists in all that we do.
In the Fall of 2022, celebrated avant-garde artist Virgil Ortiz brought his thought-provoking storytelling and visionary art to Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. The Cochiti Pueblo artist has developed a reputation for pushing boundaries through his work that fuses Pueblo culture with sci-fi, fantasy, and apocalyptic themes. Ortiz tells the story of the Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish invasion through his installation at House of Eternal Return titled Sirens: Secret Passkey & Portals. The story features a cast of characters from his ongoing saga Revolt 1680/2180 which has been his passion for the past two decades.
Not only does Meow Wolf hire local artists to be part of our exhibitions, we work to continually engage and elevate their own work. Local Explorations featured 13 Las Vegas artists who contributed artwork to Omega Mart. We partnered with Core Contemporary Gallery to host an art show, an opening and closing reception as well as an artist talk.
Meow Wolf is a proud member of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA). Their work continually supports artists and brings the business community together to celebrate the power of creativity. Meow Wolf Denver also received their 2022 Arts + Business Partnership Award for organizations going above and beyond to support the arts in Colorado.
We also sponsored CBCA’s Advancing Creatives Cohort, which is a program to provide local artists with professional development and business education programming. Through Advancing Creatives, CBCA hosts, coordinates and partners with speakers and organizations to build the entrepreneurial skills, business know-how and professional capacity of Colorado’s creative workforce.
Located on the city street inside our Denver Exhibition, Galleri Gallery is a rotating, flexible gallery space that offers artists in the Denver area a national platform to exhibit work. From traditional paintings and sculptures to experimental immersive experiences, we featured 5 exhibitions inside Galleri Gallery in 2022, including:
Our next featured artist will be Lares Feliciano, whose work will be shown inside Galleri Gallery January - March 2023.
We had a blast working with so many organizations and collaborating on a multitude of projects. What a year! We are looking forward to transversing the multiverse in even more ways in 2023 - more community involvement and support, more portals opening up, more artist collaborations, and of course, more love for you!