In one year, Omega Mart has welcomed over 1,000,000 visitors to date
Meow Wolf is roaring with accomplishments. The one year benchmark for any Las Vegas space is a considerable feat. To celebrate that milestone in a global pandemic? Well, that is just tremendous. There have been many success stories of that all over the Valley. But, few have accomplished what Meow Wolf has for the city in just twelve months.
Let’s back up for a hot second. If you haven’t been to Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart yet and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, this is for you.
There are three different Meow Wolf’s in the country, each with their own permanent installation. The permanent installation here in Las Vegas is Omega Mart, which is an off kilter grocery store that leads to the single biggest art installation that you can immerse yourself in.
Is it interactive? Yes, but even the word “interactive” is a slight undercut to the marvel that is Omega Mart. That would be like saying that Las Vegas is a town in Nevada. Factually, that’s true, but it is a disservice to downplay the Entertainment Capital of The World. The same goes for Omega Mart.
Omega Mart is the starting point for one of the most excellent explorations you will ever take. Fashioned after a grocery store, there are items that are a slightly askew. Chicken that is tattooed and cereal with marketing that is, err, off, to say the least. Behind the merchandise—that you can actually purchase by the way—is an entire world of wonder.
There are two things you need to know about Meow Wolf when visiting.
The first is, you will be at a loss for words when trying to describe it. There simply aren’t adequate descriptors to begin to define the space. And, there isn’t another space to compare it to. For a reporter writing an article on it, that is hella challenging, but fun! Turns out, it’s the same for those who call Meow Wolf home.
“That’s a good question,” says Marsi Gray, Senior Creative Producer at Meow Wolf. “I’ve described it a lot of ways over time. We’re creating artistic ways of telling stories because ultimately we’re storytellers.” Only the type of storytelling Omega Mart does is allow YOU to touch, feel and choose the story.
The story by the way centers around a fictional family-owned corporation called Dramacorp. Visitors can participate in the guided clues that will eventually reveal the mystery of the corporation and their intentions.
Participants can choose to go on a surface level mystery by simply walking through the space, or they can work on an enigma so microscopic you could spend hours uncovering it all. Therein lies a small portion of the beauty that is Meow Wolf.
The Next Art Evolution
Be it one visit or several to Meow Wolf, you will agree that they are redefining art. The innovative arts and entertainment company leads the art evolution forward in great strides. So long to stark white rooms filled with pieces you can’t touch. Goodbye art that is so precious and priceless you are afraid to breathe around it. Does this sound like what you are used to? Well, get ready to throw up the deuces and peace out.
“Prior to the pandemic, I would have had my finger on the pulse of projects and people,” says Marsi. “ I saw this increasing and sort of demanding desire for experiential and immersive experiences. And so, to get back out into the world and to experience art—which is really the Cornerstone for a cultural expression and revolution—in a way that we were really speaking to the desire to experience art.”
The Neighbors Nevada Needs
The second thing you need to get comfortable with is how involved Meow Wolf has been in the local Las Vegas art community, and that’s during Covid.
“Meow Wolf is always looking to improve. We’re never satisfied with just having good revenue for the year. That’s not who we are,” says Christy Sakamoto, Program & Outreach Manager for Meow Wolf. “We’re a dual bottom line company. So we’re always looking to see how we can create a bigger and better impact on the Las Vegas Community.”
That means on the inside treating their employees better. On the outside, it means looking at ways to minimize their carbon footprint. This includes reaching out to local artists and creating mutually beneficial relationships. “Las Vegas is helping shape what we do and who we are,” says Christy.
And that’s not just lip service either. There is actual action taking place. During the pandemic, Meow Wolf teamed up with SaveArtSpace to feature local artists and showcase their work (work that may not have otherwise been seen). Rather than put up art inside their already gigantic space, they put it up on billboards all over the city. To learn more about Meow Wolf and SaveArtSpace watch this video
“I think because it was our opening year a lot of folks were very focused on who was going to be contributing to the exhibition,” says Christy. “But, especially my role, I am looking to see how we can bring artists to our community as well.”
With one ‘Covid’ year under their belt and with an ending of the pandemic seemingly in sight, what is the next step in growing that relationship?
“We definitely have murals on the horizon and there’s multiple facets that artists can work with us. We want to provide more opportunities for artists to to intersect with the community and have our support beyond [the] Omega Mart part of life.” That leads us to wonder, ‘If they start with billboards, what will be next?’
By the numbers
Omega Mart has been a hit since it first opened their doors on February 18, 2021. In one year, they have welcomed over 1,000,000 visitors to date.
As a company they have teamed up with over 50 community based organizations and non-profit groups to volunteer and provide needed goods and services. Remember those items for purchase we mentioned earlier? Well many of those items have been donated to various charities to the tune of over $20,000 dollars.
Recognizing the power of inspiration, Meow Wolf they have also donated over 4,000 tickets for admission. That is a whole lot of inspiration. And, in a city built on dreams, that is never a bad thing.
WHO: Meow Wolf – Omega Mart
WHEN: Monday through Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
WHERE: AREA15 3215 S. Rancho Drive, Las Vegas, NV
TICKETS: Start at $45. To purchase, visit Meow Wolf’s Website.