Meow Wolf’s biggest attraction yet has finally come to Denver. But that’s by no means the whole story. For years, Denver has been preparing for Meow Wolf’s arrival in ways that are impacting not just the city but the entire region – and very likely beyond.
Millennials across the globe increasingly value experiences over material possessions.
For a while now, Denver has been the number one choice of those among them wanting to move to a new city in the US, and a third of Denver residents are now millennials (CNBC). City government took notice, and laid plans to stay ahead of the curve with a multi-year community-generated cultural plan designed to fully integrate arts, culture and creativity into daily life, work and play. These ingredients of Denver’s special sauce are part planned, part serendipitous – and that recipe is the reason Meow Wolf and Alt Ethos CEO and Founder Ethan Bach (who had worked together in Santa Fe on helping to elect a new mayor and in Denver for the Meow Wolf announcement party) recognized the potential and established their primary operations in Denver.
Years in the making, the Meow Wolf Effect is still unfolding.
Early predictions were for 1.5M visitors per annum, but the surge of advance ticket sales suggests there may well be a lot more. Whatever the number, this massive new influx of visitors will have major implications for the creative economy (“Is Meow Wolf good for artists? Overall, yes” – Denver Post), the tourist industry, and the culture at large. It will transform opportunities for growth in entertainment offerings, art sales, retail, and dining, which will have a ripple effect across the region. It’s never been just about the Meow Wolf site itself.
As Ethan says: “The Meow Wolf Effect is an intimate and intentional look into a cultural phenomenon sparking the creative economy in a way that I have not witnessed in my lifetime.
This is our moment of opportunity. If we keep harnessing our collective energy with strategic planning in order to make the best possible outcome, we can make a huge shift in the new economy.”
On behalf of The Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) and Alt Ethos, we invite you to our virtual presentation “Global Creative Connection through Immersive Virtual Worlds” hosted in our new Pathos Metaverse, a 3D avatar platform, this Friday October 1st, 2021 at 2:00 PM MST
Alt Ethos Presentation: Come explore the future of art, technology, and global connectivity through virtual worlds from top creators and thought leaders in the immersive industry. The pandemic shot us into the future of digital engagement and immersive worlds. As some creatives quickly grasped the change to become known internationally, others were left confused. This talk will walk you through the history, present, and future of virtual worlds and how they will impact the global community, our professional lives, and our collective digital future. Speakers:
Julian Reyes, MC
Eric Dallimore, Moderator Panelists
Evo (Evonne) Heyning
Q&A from audience submitted in writing
Carlos Austin, Real-Time “In World (VR)” Live Multi-cam video switching and still photographer at Austin Photograph
Carlos is passionate about the arts with an emphasis on photography/video “in-world” TV production and emerging drone technology. An XR evangelist as this technology begins to mature. Helping create Broadcast television standards for capturing live events in virtual social platforms. Real-time switching live shows with a multi-camera setup. There are so many opportunities to communicate and educate the world through XR. 3rd Generation photographer and storyteller.
Ethan Bach, CEO Alt Ethos
Ethan Bach is the founding CEO of Alt Ethos: experiential design agency and Founder and Board Member of DATA (Denver Arts + Technology Advancement). Westword calls Ethan, “An entrepreneur with an eye on the future’s future.” Bach holds an MFA in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Alt Ethos is an award-winning design company and has been recognized in CodaWorx Magazine; the Young Industry Professionals, and by the Mayor of Fort Collins.
Evo (Evonne) Heyning, Metaverse Media. Creative Executive Producer
Evo Heyning is an award-winning producer, technologist, founder and creator focused on the future of participatory media. Evo focuses on collaborative teams that work across fields, sectors, and platforms to create meaningful global endeavors. Evo has created virtual beings, worlds, and campaigns for 20 years. Evo produced major live streaming concerts and campaigns for the White House including the launch of the Affordable Care Act and virtual worlds for diplomacy, civic engagement, and nonprofit development.
Celeste Lear, Immersive Event Producer & Designer, XR Entertainment Specialist, Music & Sound Director, Host, VR Consultant
DJ Celeste is an entertainment & event industry professional with 15+ years of concert, festival & conference production experience. Immersive technology expert skilled in designing & executing cutting-edge events both physically, virtually, AND in Virtual Reality. First in a new wave of DJs who design their own stages & perform as avatars in VR Festivals and Nightclubs. Executive music direction, production & clearance for International, multi-media installation projects for UN & UNESCO, including a large-scale video mapping experience in Paris.
About Pathos Metaverse
Pathos Metaverse is a browser-based virtual world by Alt Ethos. For this panel, all of the speakers will be avatars in the Pathos Metaverse. Through live-action virtual cinematography, CCI participants will stream the event in real-time. Selected avatar audience members will also be in attendance and watching the entire production in the Pathos Metaverse.
Pathos Metaverse is an easy-to-use, dynamic, and engaging immersive platform. Pathos Metaverse provides exciting meeting places, dynamic events, branded virtual worlds, and future-thinking hybrid-virtual-world solutions, pushing the boundaries of interactivity.
Last Holiday season, we enjoyed bringing two light show experiences to Cheyenne, Wyoming, through architectural mapping. Projected across the front of the historic Cheyenne Depot in downtown Cheyenne, we created a multimedia extravaganza for their traditional Downtown Lighting Celebration and dazzling the crowd.
A timer projected onto the Depot Museum tower ticked away the seconds as the evening event approached. With about 10 seconds to go, children that were gathered in the Depot Plaza began to yell out each number as it counted down, and as the timer hit zero, a loud boom sounded, and every light illuminated all at once. From all around the lights beamed – strung on trees, framing downtown buildings, and on tall evergreen trees.
The music started, and 3D shapes began to dance on the museum’s façade creating colorful projections of ornaments, wreaths, candy, fireworks, snow, and strings of lights that were all designed to the shape of the building. Since this was part of their 2020 Old West celebration, people laughed and cheered at the dancing cowboys on horseback herding bison, and at the end of each song, they whooped and cheered some more.
The event was such a success that a city council member was even seen wiping a tear from her eye. Alt Ethos was thrilled to help bring the holiday spirit and some much-needed sense of community safely to the folks in Cheyenne.
We are excited to be back in Cheyenne, Wyoming!
This 3D projection mapping holiday lights show was such a hit that we have been asked to make a more permanent attraction.
Our challenge is to address and impact the economic and cultural engagement throughout the city. As a permanent project our aim is to invite locals and tourists back into the city for celebration-themed holiday and event-specific content to keep visitors delighted and engaged and help drive economic development.
We look forward to the opportunity to exceed the creative expectations in the design and implementation of this visual experience. See you soon Cheyenne!
Interested in developing a projection mapping experience for your community or event?
“I don’t know about you, but I have caught the travel bug. COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health it seems, and more often I find myself longing to get away. The urge to travel is partially a longing to connect, not just with other people but with the natural world.”–anonymous
COVID-19 has affected the lives of every American in ways we are still grasping to understand. From financial stress to unprecedented changes in school and business, there is nothing our nation has faced quite like this. Now more than ever, people are longing for something to pull them out of the chaos. And now more than ever we need to make wise choices in how we travel. We are longing for opportunities to experience the beauty and to connect with what’s around us.
One of the ways people in the Northwest have increasingly chosen to connect during COVID-19 is through the National Park system. Wyoming, for example, has had some of the lowest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in the nation. Their national parks, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone, were able to remain open for the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic with very little outbreaks. Enjoying the great outdoors has become one of the easiest and healthiest ways to be physically distant and remain in-tune with the outside world. The outdoors will remain throughout the winter months.
However, experiences in the outside world don’t have to be limited to the national parks. In a world with an ever-increasing demand for individual, and oftentimes virtual experiences, digital designs are playing a vital role in a physically distanced pandemic America.
Digital designs are one of the most affordable and diverse ways to transform public spaces in ways that would be too cost-prohibitive for traditional capital improvements to take place. For example, holiday tree lightings, modern drive-in theatres, and socially-distanced architectural projection mapping offer the opportunity to set up live experiences with minimal changes to the structural environment. Drive-thru and drive-in live experiences offer the chance to mimic the traditional performance environment without costly overhead or unsafe practices during COVID-19 shutdowns.
Experiential design has been at the forefront of our culture preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer the benefits of a communal social function while allowing individuals to participate from the safety and comfort of their cars, outdoors, or from the comfort of your home. These options offer the blend of privacy and community that many are craving right now. And, there are many other options for virtual live experiences that are just scratching the surface of what we’re able to accomplish within the digital pace.
Join us this holiday season in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Where Cheyenne is bringing the lights to the holidays this year. Alt Ethos will feature two light experiences in Cheyenne this holiday season. On Saturday, November 21st, and Friday, November 27th we light up the Downtown Lighting Celebration through architectural mapping of the train depot located at 121 W 15th Street. That’s not all! From November 21 through January 1st, 2021, come by the Prime Time Holiday Drive-Thru at Blue FCU located at 2401 E. Pershing Blvd, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001.
The post-pandemic world is undetermined. What do we want to use to shape it, and how will we as individuals and communities contribute? That is the question that digital art and technology can provide if we are confident enough to venture out.
Note: Always follow the recent guidelines from local health and state agencies as well as the recommendations of the CDC to stay safe. If you or someone you spend time with have compromising health concerns, please avoid crowds.
On Tuesday, September 1, from 9pm-midnight, theaters and event venues across North America will be asked to light ghost lights on their stages, light their buildings in red, and use hashtag #WeMakeEvents to symbolize the struggle of the industry, which has been shuttered since March 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Alt Ethos is supporting our colleagues, clients, and friends in the event industry by lighting up the mansion at 2345 7th St, Denver. Thanks to Reactiv.io for collaborating on this lighting installation one of their many event rental spaces. Check out the mansion as you drive down I-25 near the Denver Aquarium, or stop by to snap some photos – and tag #WeMakeEvents to raise awareness.
By the Numbers
The live entertainment industry is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy. It employs over 12 million people and provides upwards of $1 trillion in economic impact – more than the transportation, agriculture, and tourism industries. However, due to the global pandemic, the live events industry is in grave danger. A devastating number of arts professionals are currently out of work and will be for some time, with the pandemic having shut down nearly all entertainment functions in all sectors.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has been completely shattered reporting that:
• 95% of entertainment events have been canceled.
• 62% of entertainment workers are fully unemployed.
• 94% of entertainment workers have lost income.
• The average arts worker reports $23,500 in losses thus far.
• 66% of entertainment workers are unable to access spaces, staff, resources, or supplies needed to do their jobs.
Public spaces are undergoing transformations as we navigate new rules and guidelines for social interaction. Lighting design reinvigorates places and brings them to life. Murals or large building surfaces can be transformed into glowing dreamlike creations when they would otherwise be obscured in shadow. Architectural lighting revitalizes our neighborhoods to support vibrant urban life, creates a sense of security and safety, and attracts new economic activity.
Groups like the Project for Public Spaces have valuable information on the best ways to move forward with engaging community spaces in this time of transition. In our recent Experiential Design Playbook: Solutions for Engagement During COVID-19 & Beyond, Alt Ethos outlines a number of inspirational designs for public spaces that bring joy and engagement to our communities in creative and safe ways. Via projection mapping, LED wash lighting, and no-touch interactive displays – an entire public square can be activated. Whether we are gathering six feet apart in a public square, or passing through our usual main street now filled with outdoor public seating options — an experience can be illuminated with creative lighting design in simple and impactful ways.
When people are venturing out with their families this summer, they will be on the hunt for engaging experiences, community events, and comfortable interactions that will give a much-needed lift to their spirits. Seeing their favorite public places brought to life with light would be a great way to do just that. Through public installations and interactive experiences, such as the Illuminous interactive projection-mapped mural in Fort Collins, CO, our communities can be welcomed back to shopping and spending time in public spaces with fresh, inspired eyes.
We encourage downtown development authorities and businesses to convert public spaces into interactive art using projectors, lighting effects, and sensors. These placemaking initiatives not only offer free public access to an immersive, child- and pet-friendly experience, but are proven to stimulate greater economic activity.
Alt Ethos, in partnership with Reactiv.io, recently illuminated Denver’s iconic brick mansion by the Downtown Aquarium and I-25. Together, Alt Ethos and Reactiv are creating experiential designs in Denver to inspire connection. Future immersive collaboration includes the Tennyson Street / Berkeley area – one of Denver’s most historic neighborhoods with private immersive themed bungalow experiences.
Architectural lighting in conjunction with an urban revitalization plan acts as a vehicle that reconnects people with a sense of place to emphasize the true strengths of a community. In 1989, the city of Lyon, France, introduced one of the earliest holistic lighting master plans to revitalize the dense historic core of the city. The origins of the festival date to 1643 when Lyon was struck by the plague. Today, Lyon is known as the “capital of light,” hosting the largest festival dedicated solely to illumination, the Fête des lumières, in part commemorating the day Lyon was consecrated to the Virgin Mary. The 2019 festival attracted 1.8 million visitors over 4 days.
Urban design has taken on a new level of importance to keep the residents of urban areas feeling safe. Alt Ethos works in collaboration with city planners and corporations to commit to the health and vitality of its community. Contact us to set up a complimentary consultation on how your downtown shopping area, municipal buildings, or public park can be activated with light.