Consider this our annual love letter to our collective community.
While it’s not uncommon to find purpose-driven businesses, it’s rare to find an organization with impact so deeply rooted into its very fabric since the beginning. Since the early days of art-making in warehouse spaces and dumpster diving for trash to create beautiful expressive maximalist creations, we believe in bringing people together in community and generosity.
Meow Wolf strives to make a positive difference – by transforming participants through mind-bending, imaginative experiences. By hiring artists and supporting creatives. By building spaces where everyone feels like they belong. By treading lightly on our planet. By operating with integrity. By adventuring into new realms (in 2023, we launched a virtual reality game and an app).
As a Certified B Corporation and registered Public Benefit Corporation, Meow Wolf invests in key areas to measure our impact — Passion for Community, Earth in Balance, Embrace Belonging, and Supporting Our Shrimps (employees). Throughout, we aspire to be unwavering in our commitment to our creative community and to each other.
So let’s explore our Impact in 2023!
Passion for Community
Meow Wolf Foundation Launches, Supporting the Healing Power of Art
This year, we were thrilled to launch a new nonprofit foundation– fulfilling a vision of our Meow Wolf cofounders. In 2023, we announced the Meow Wolf Foundation’s inaugural community grant program, with over $600,000 in support of 60+ organizations in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas doing transformative work in art access, healing, and innovation. Across the U.S., investment into arts, culture, and humanities is frequently among the lowest - with the vast majority of dollars going to museums and other large institutions. Our foundation grants supported organizations that are 60% grassroots, over 60% Black, Indigenous, and People of color lead or serving, and over 50% youth-focused.
Howdy Texas, Welcome to The Real Unreal!
We center local voices and experiences in every new portal we open and The Real Unreal in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is no exception. This began with several community conversations and support to dozens of nonprofit organizations through donations and sponsorships ($85,000). We collaborated with over 40 local artists to make the exhibition come to life, and completed nearly 600 hours of volunteer service– more than any other exhibition! We believe it’s important for the community to see themselves reflected in our exhibitions and feel like they belong. In that spirit, check out this colorful mural and story by Meow Wolf artist liaison Will Heron.
Rainbow Rainbow, A Community Canvas for Creativity
Meow Wolf Santa Fe opened a new multipurpose space for community programming and events called Rainbow Rainbow, a place to make art and connect with each other. The center comes from the legacy of the David Loughridge Learning Center that closed due to COVID-19, and is dedicated to Meow Wolf cofounder Matt King who believed that we must make space for creative expression and arts mentorship. So far, the space has donated space to 17 arts organizations and hosted over 150 free community programs– creating a place where all ages can gather and explore their own creativity.
Dedication to Service, Showing up for Our Communities
Our advocacy-proud crew across Meow Wolf dedicated 1,200+ community hours, supporting organizations that speak to their values and passions – doing everything from stocking shelves at the local food bank, restoring a prairie habitat for pollinators, building an urban garden, beautifying our local neighborhoods, hosting creative writing workshops, and more.
Earth in Balance
Going Green, Renewed Commitment to our Planet
We’ve always been pretty green, we just didn’t call it sustainability,we called it thrifty. Since the beginning, Meow Wolf has incorporated reuse and upcycling in our artistic creations, using everyday and discarded objects in our art to make extraordinary creations. Our most recent exhibition The Real Unreal in Grapevine, TX included 33% of production materials from found or recycled objects.
We know that as our company grows, so does our impact on the planet. We renewed our commitment to sustainability this year by launching priority areas centered around carbon accounting to measure our emissions and establishing a zero waste program.
Reuse as High Fashion
We’re no stranger to the art of creative apparel, and we’ve taken it to the runway. At Denver’s Convergence Station, 22 local designers created custom looks made from trash transformed into awe-inspiring ensembles at the Absolute Rubbish: Trashion Show, mixing art and sustainability.
Our events are a great opportunity to go green and we’re proud of our first event sustainability program at Vortex Festival. We identified and reported on 37 ways Meow Wolf could reduce waste and lessen our environmental footprint during the three-day event. This program helps reduce our climate impact and engage our community, while building a foundation for more sustainable events.
Creating Spaces Where Everyone Can Feel Like They Belong
In order to make our spaces more accessible to everyone, all Meow Wolf exhibitions are now Certified Autism Centers™. We also provide special sensory kits to enhance the immersive art experience for autistic and sensory-sensitive guests. With 1 in 6 people having a sensory need or sensitivity and 1 in 36 children diagnosed with autism in the U.S., the demand for more trained and certified options is at an all-time high.
We’ve also teamed up with leaders in visual interpreting, Aira, to enhance our exhibitions’ accessibility for blind and low vision guests. Through this partnership, we are proud to offer person-to-person visual descriptions of all our exhibits at no cost to our participants through the Aira app.
Elevating Diverse Voices
Meow Wolf is a proud, longtime supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2023, we celebrated events like the Storybook KiKi Ball in Denver, Queer Prom with the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance at House of Eternal Return, and Omega Mart’sRainbow Wash campaign in Las Vegas which raised over $20,000 for The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada. In total, $115,000 in Meow Wolf corporate donations and sponsorships went to LGBTQIA+ groups.
This also included partnership with DapperQ, the largest annual queer fashion show in the U.S. held during New York Fashion Week. The Meow Wolf Foundation also contributed $25,000 toward LGBTQIA+ support groups.
Support our Shrimps
Our People are Essential to our Success and Culture
Beyond our shrimps’ (employees) passion for community service, we also examined and expanded benefits, initiated a retirement match and broadened support through special speakers and programs with a particular focus around mental health.
Looking for ways to be advocates to our teams, we endorsed an affordable housing initiative in Santa Fe. The ballot measure passed with widespread voter approval, providing a permanent funding stream to build affordable housing and provide mortgage and rental assistance.
In short, we adore our communities and strive to use our business as a force for good, and others have taken notice! Check out our 2023 awards below.