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.”
eFlow is a fun and creative way for people to engage and connect while physically distancing. Whether at a drive-in event or virtual event this collaboratively creative platform can be easily branded or themed.
eFlow‘s platform is fully customizable – custom stamps, brushes, and backgrounds are all possible to create branded experiences for your event. The ongoing live collaboration can be displayed publicly by projecting the canvas large-scale at your physical event as well – creating a hybrid experience for both onsite and virtual attendees.
eFlow is an artistic collaborative WebGL fluid simulation that works in your browser. You and other online participants can collaborate with colors and shapes on an ever-changing canvas. See the networked artwork shift and grow in real time as others join in on the fun.
Outdoor Immersive Storytime
At the Anythink Brighton Drive-In Storytime event, as attendees got settled into their parking spots, they were able to play with eFlow on the screens across their personal devices and see their the projection screens in the lot.
Virtual Dia De Los Muertos Experience
Alt Ethos created a custom Dia De Los Muertos interactive experience for Thornton, Colorado’s 5th year of its annual celebration. While October 2020 restrictions transformed this hybrid event into online-only, visitors were able to connect and share the community memorial video online and play with others decorating the sugar skull on eFlow.
Let’s talk about ways that Flow can bring magic and play into your event! Interactive and immersive exhibits take your event to the next level.
To all of you, we at Alt Ethos have been working hard to innovate solutions for this changing time. Communities and organizations around the world are at a high level of confusion, overwhelm, and disconnection. Like you, we had our times of frustration as we navigated the rough waters of the unknown. We also saw it as an opportunity.
Our communities are starting to come out of stay at home orders around the globe. How shall we experience community spaces and not end up on national news like the Memorial Day waterpark parties? Watching these gatherings can make you feel unhinged and afraid to engage. In this desire to re-open and reconnect with our constituents, we intend on providing flexible solutions that retain ROI if and when another wave of shutdown orders occurs.
That is why Alt Ethos has been doing research and design since the closing of the first major international event in the United States, SXSW.
During this crisis, that feeling of isolation can make everyone feel disconnected. If municipalities and corporations can’t find a way to safely connect with their constituents, they miss the chance to provide support and a sense of well-being.
Now is the time to step up and activate your communities and create the future of placemaking, entertainment, and advertising. A culture that is resilient, fun, and provides an opportunity for connection. It is our destiny as humans to create new solutions, visions, and activations to reinvigorate the next steps in social healing. It is the responsibility of our cities, our libraries, our public art, and our local businesses to reconnect with our communities.
Your contribution to the recovery of this crisis is going to be massive. You are creating the future of community building and entertainment. We know we are a small percentage of the population that imagines the future even in the time of a world crisis. We are looking for you to create, to connect, and to activate new solutions.
Get started by downloading our new Experiential Design Playbook. First, to get an idea of what is possible and mutable in uncertain times. Second, to increase the support your constituents feel connecting a greater bond to your city or your brand. Create activations that make your message easier to hear, simultaneously inspiring engagement and making a contribution to your community.
Learn all about our COVID re-entry experiential design solutions:
Developing communities are a true artist’s dream. They are a blank canvas upon which creativity can be carved from nothing. The essence of public art especially fosters creativity in ways other art forms do not. Digital design, sculpture, and architecture can all create the groundwork for a community thriving in culture. However, planning and investment of creative resources must be utilized carefully to create public art that has meaning and impact.
What is Public Art?
Public art, simply put, is architecture, murals, sculpture, or digital designs that are created in the public domain. They are accessible to all and are used to create beauty and culture within an otherwise purely pragmatic space. Public art has been an important part of community development since the early 20th century. It can encourage collaboration and community involvement that provides a sense of pride to area residents.
Public art can include city sculpture, architecture, wall art, and other mediums accessible by the public. Traditionally, public art has included sculpture, murals, ecological design, and occasionally digital displays. However, in the digital age we are seeing an influx of interactive public art designed for user interaction, or experiential design. This trend is slowly but surely gaining traction in areas where community development takes on an innovative approach.
The Problem with Public Art as a Part of Community Development
Public art can contribute to culture and residential satisfaction, however in most community development projects, it is taken very lightly. Oftentimes the limited budget for public art is taken from the same budget that provides for affordable housing or roadway improvements. When residents see an eyesore art piece coupled with potholes and underdeveloped residential areas, public art can quickly turn into the lowest priority for community members.
Developing communities have the opportunity to make public art more than an afterthought.
Many developers don’t pay attention to the inclusion of public art, but it can make an impact on community areas if done correctly. An art piece that has cultural meaning, modern relevance, and interactive elements will be cherished by residents and worth the time and investment.
How to Make Public Art Valuable to the Community at Large
Instead of going the traditional route, many developers are leaning towards digital, interactive public art to include in their community projects. Experiential designs and digital media displays are modern, unique, and engage community members to give them experiences, not just stagnant aesthetics.
Creations of installation art, interactive architecture, interactive film, and interactive storytelling through digital landscapes all offer communities more to experience and enjoy. An interactive public art piece where residents can make memories, tell their own stories, and unleash creativity adds exponentially more value than a static piece commissioned by one local artist. With experiential design, community members become the creators. When this happens, public art matters.
These digital interactive pieces can transform an area into a more modern community. It attracts community members to otherwise declining economic areas, offering a springboard of inspiration to make more out of a community development project.
AltEthos works with community developers, landscape designers, and local artists to bring visions into interactive experience landscapes that can transform communities. Change the way people see, feel, and live in your community by adding real value in the form of public art. The change starts now with AltEthos.