Somehow we’re already halfway through March and reveling in Women’s History Month! As the Sr. Director of Social Impact, I work everyday to create a positive benefit for our communities, including uplifting voices of artists and collaborators. No one knows artists better than Meow Wolf’s Director of Artist Collaboration, Han Santana-Sayles. Together we’re taking time to celebrate and honor some of Meow Wolf’s amazing women artist collaborators who inspire us everyday.
What is Women’s History Month?
Since 1987, Women’s History Month has been an annual celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. This celebration grew out of a weeklong celebration organized by the school district in Sonoma, California. The idea caught on, and in 1980 President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 National Women’s History Week. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March and Women’s History Month was established.
Women have played an integral role in our society, and in pushing boundaries and inclusivity in the arts. We also recognize that the arts industry has more work to do to support women artists, according to Artsy only 14% of museum exhibitions from 2008-2018 were by women. Meow Wolf is proud to be employing more women artists than ever and more than half of our employees identify as women.
This year for Women’s History Month, Meow Wolf wanted to highlight women artists in our network who we look up to and admire. We also want to recognize the importance of intersectional representation and recognizing trans women, non-cisgendered women and all those who identify as women this month.
There is no one who knows Meow Wolf artists and collaborators better, so I spoke with Meow Wolf’s Director of Artist Collaboration, Han Santana-Sayles. Han works tirelessly to curate artists for many Meow Wolf projects, and has the best Instagram that highlights emerging artists on an on-going basis.
One focal point of our mission is to hire and collaborate artists to work with us on projects, exhibitions and more. Here are some amazing women artists that Meow Wolf collaborates with. We honor their experience and contributions this month and every month.
Renowned for creating immersive technological wonders using light, sculpture and sound, Claudia Bueno’s work is simply stunning. Born in Venezuela and living in Idaho, Claudia is inspired by nature and the interconnectedness between all living things. Her newest work “Pulse” is a tribute to life inspired by the intricate patterns of cells within Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Hand painted on sixty panels by Bueno and a team of artists “Pulse” is a monumental collaboration led by Bueno with sound design by Meason Wiley, lighting design by Mads Christensen, and part of Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart exhibition in Las Vegas.
Teacher, mother, student, business owner, activist and artist, we cannot keep up with all the amazing projects led by Fawn Douglas. An active member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, where she previously served as a Tribal Councilwoman, Fawn works with and advocates for Indigenous artists in the Las Vegas community. She is also the owner of Nuwu Art, with her newest project of community studio spaces at the Nuwu Arts + Activism Studios. Her goal is to uplift all communities through strengthening cultural knowledge and identity through art, activism and education.
Colombian visual artist Cami Galofre explores magical realism, romanticism and environmentalism with her beautiful transformational landscapes. Currently living in Denver, Cami works with the next generation of latinx artists while teaching at the Community College of Denver, and el Museo de las Américas. Meow Wolf is thrilled to have collaborated with Cami for her multidimensional landscape "Macarenia" in our Denver exhibition for a new scale of transformation.
Born and raised in Denver, Kalyn Heffernan is a community activist, musician, artist and former Mayoral candidate. Kalyn is the dynamic front woman for Wheelchair Sports Camp, Denver's biggest smallest band, which has been voted Denver’s Best Hip-Hop group 4 times! Meow Wolf worked with Kalyn in our Denver exhibition on a space called Wheelchair Space Kitchen that challenges non-disabled people to think about space differently. We’re constantly inspired by Kalyn’s work at the intersection of art and activism for people with disabilities.
Painter and graphic designer extraordinaire, Jaelah Kuehmichel is a queer artist who lives in Santa Fe, NM and has been working with Meow Wolf for almost 4 years as an artist. Jaelah doesn’t like to stick to one style but you might describe her art as “color confident”, with a proclivity for pattern and a taste for texture. She spent 4 months working on-site for Meow Wolf’s Las Vegas exhibition Omega Mart where she has several murals and graphics, including the Clothing Rack Portal, Janitor Closet Portal and various merchandise. She maintains an independent studio practice, is enthusiastic about the spiritual awakening of humanity, and likes to play drums.
Graphic design powerhouse, Sydnee Mejia looks to nature and old world craftsmanship as her guiding light. Raised in California and Mexico City, Sydnee applies her range of experience across the design, hospitality, and arts industries to create thoughtful, tactile design that transcends commercial art. She brought this expertise to life in conceiving of and bringing to life many of the iconic products on the shelf currently in Meow Wolf’s Las Vegas exhibition Omega Mart. Products such a Y2K Contingency Sauce, a faux early 2000s condiment or Effervescent Dreamscape, a surreally beautiful (and real) lime sparkling water. Sydnee is able to design something as mundane as a grocery store condiment and transform it into a surreal magical experience.
Meow Wolf artist and collaborator Janell Langford dazzles us on a daily basis with her afrofuturism line Obsidiopolis, which she describes as “a creation and curation of unending Black girl magic.” A graphic artist, Janell has been drawing since she was young and has honed her storytelling skills in her largest installation: CJ’s Temporal Lobby at Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. She constantly gives back to our community with proceeds from sales of her merchandise going to organizations like Black Voters Matter Fund.
Visual and performing arts, environmental activism and women’s empowerment all blend together in artist Corinne Loperfido. She is driven to break boundaries and transcend social norms in her work, and we’ve seen the impact of her work first hand. We first met Corinne and her group Pussy Power House, which promotes self love and personal expression, at Meow Wolf’s Taos Vortex in 2018. Now part of Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, Corinne’s first permanent full room installation, Trash Temple, built with collaborator Damon Williams, is an homage to our planet and made entirely out of found materials that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill.
Cross-disciplinary artist Eriko Tsogo inspires us with her ongoing work to advance racial and cultural justice. Eriko is a DACA recipient born on the steppes of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and since 2012 she has worked as the Creative Director at the Mongolian Cultural and Heritage Center of Colorado. Eriko is represented by Tappan Collective. We’re not only working with Eriko in our Denver exhibition, but ithe MONGOVOO Temple inside Convergence Station is a family affair with her mother (Baja), father (Tsogo), and sister (Jennifer) collaborating on a project that is an homage to their heritage, making history in Mongolia.