Meow Wolf, an arts and entertainment company with locations in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Denver, has announced its North Texas location, named The Real Unreal, will open on Friday, July 14, 2023.
Located in a former retail space within Grapevine Mills, a large destination shopping mall known for its entertainment venues like SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, the new Meow Wolf has 29,000 square feet of exhibition space. Visitors will explore more than 30 rooms featuring creations by 150 artists and fabricators. Featured artists work in a variety of mediums, including murals, sculpture, photography, and video game design.
While many of the contributors either work for Meow Wolf or have participated in the development of other Meow Wolf locations, the organization also brought in 38 Texas-based artists to assist with the production. Some of the Dallas-based artists included are Dan Lam, a sculptor known for her drippy organic creations; muralist Mariell Guzman, who has created murals across the state; and painter Riley Holloway, whose work was recently acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art through the Dallas Art Fair Acquisition Program. See the full list of artists here.
Like other Meow Wolf locations, The Real Unreal combines fantastical art and storytelling. According to the company, the narrative that unfolds is about “a missing boy, a chosen family, and Hapulusgarrulus Lophoaquaflori.” The story was developed by LaShawn Wanak, a fantasy, science fiction, and horror writer, who is also the editor of the webzine GigaNotoSaurus.
In an interview on the Meow Wolf website, Ms. Wanak discussed her writing history and elements of The Real Unreal. When asked what she hoped people would come away with from the story she has written for Grapevine, she explained: “It goes back to the caring. I want people to come away with the people in the story, knowing that they deeply care for each other, even though they have disagreements, they can figure out stuff and they deeply care for each other. And that a lot of what their actions stem from is from love, even when it seems like it’s a negative action, when they’re trying genuinely to care for the person and basically trying to figure each other out and figure out how to live with each other.”
In a recent press release, Dale Sheehan, Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director of Meow Wolf, discussed the new space. He stated, “When participants step into The Real Unreal, they start a cosmic odyssey where surprises await around every corner, and each discovery sparks its own story. Every element in the exhibition weaves together a tapestry of characters, stories, and worlds. The creative energy of The Real Unreal extends beyond the physical, and leads to a potential unlimited host of cosmic side-effects.”
Though The Real Unreal does not open until Friday, July 14, tickets are now available for pre-purchase ($50 general admission, $45 for children). Additionally, the company announced a cryptic pop-up to be held at Grapevine Mills this Friday, May 19, by a “creative wellness brand,” Laernü, which seems to have little online presence other than its connection to Meow Wolf. According to the press release, Laernü offers “custom supplements and educational courses support[ing] practices to tap into creativity from universes beyond our own at unaffordable prices.” The few details provided about the pop-up state that it will “appear from a rhombus-shaped cloud” and that participants will be able to interact with a claw machine to “retrieve a myriad of otherworldly ephemera-including Meow Wolf tickets.”
Please consider providing space for local artists that can’t afford to pay high prices to display their artwork.