Is Meow Wolf Denver Socially Responsible? It May Be Too Soon to Tell – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-09-16 18:05:00 –

Image by Anna Satter

The art group has promised to provide opportunities for the locals and give back to the Sun Valley community. That’s what they’ve done so far, and that’s why true testing hasn’t been done yet.

The Meow Wolf Denver installation, Convergence Station, is well-named. The immersive art exhibition 4 converging worldsHowever, the destination triangular building stands at the confluence of several major roads in the Sun Valley, despite being in the heart of a city that has exploded economically over the last decade. This area is Colorado’s poorest census zone.

Meow Wolf intentionally chose the site. 2018, then CEO Vince Caddolbeck said Sunvalley There were more opportunities to have a positive impact on society than elsewhere (including the RiNo area) that Meow Wolf considered in Mile High City. As a B Corporation, social impact is part of Meow Wolf’s earnings.

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At that time, Meow Wolf was in the early stages of working with a paid community advisory board to learn about local needs and concerns. This group meets monthly at the Sun Valley Kitchen & Community Center to connect with other organizations, businesses and residents, and MeowWolf is responsible for interacting with his neighbors.

FreshStart, Inc., president of SVCC and based in Sunvalley. Jeanne Granville, Executive Director of the, said: Sunvalley … I was really passionate about the art and creative expression that participated in the advisory board. “

The Commission has identified the priorities that Meow Wolf has formally adopted in its Corporate Social Responsibility document. This includes hiring local Denver people to work there, involving local artists in the development of Meow Wolf Denver, and subcontracting with local minority and women-owned businesses. included. Funding programs and organizations that work with young people who are under-served and have reached their limits.

However, before many of these priorities were enacted, the Commission’s work was suspended by a proceeding in late 2019. In this case, Zoe Williams and Mar Williams (irrelevant), who helped set up the committee and served as Meow Wolf’s Denver Community Outreach Directors), and artists working with the organization, said to Meow Wolf that they were sexist. I have filed a complaint of discrimination.

Many members of the committee did not know what was happening. “Towards the end of everything, it became difficult for the average community advisory board. [member] To find out how best to steer when there are these fundamental disruptions in the relationships between those who should help us, “said Meow Wolf Denver’s contributor. Committee member Molina Speaks says. “This hampered the community advisory board’s ability to streamline communication with decision makers. It really made things difficult. And, of course, a pandemic happened and everything abruptly ended. bottom.”

The proceedings Personally resolved February 2020 (Meow Wolf declined to comment on the incident; Zoe Williams could not reach due to comments). Then, in March, a pandemic forced Meow Wolf to close its location in Santa Fe and tighten spending. At that time, the company dissolved the community advisory board.

“It feels like our work is done prematurely,” says Speaks, but he doesn’t blame Meow Wolf or Williams for that. “It would be a mistake to concentrate on the drama. [of] Speculation. … It would be more beneficial to focus on the victories we achieved together. “

These victories included Meow Wolf’s first Request for Proposal (RFP) from a local artist, with over 1,000 submissions and 110 Colorado artists signing a contract to contribute to Meow Wolf Denver.

Meow Wolf also hosted an RFP for local food and beverage vendors to operate at the HELLO FOOD Cafe. Osage Cafe, part of the Youth Employment Academy of Races Brewing and Denver Housing Authority, two Sun Valley entities, have been selected as Meow Wolf’s leading beer and takeaway food vendors, respectively. Raices spent the summer preparing for the opening of Meow Wolf by hiring additional staff and getting a canning line. “We plan to increase beer production by 50-100%,” said Jose Beteta, CEO of Races.

This summer, Meow Wolf held a recruitment fair in Sunvalley, inviting more local staff, including Joann Asakawa Huntz, as Program and Outreach Director. Colorado natives previously played a similar community outreach role in Denver’s Art Student League. She states that Meow Wolf’s approach to the community is “much larger than I’ve ever done.”

One of Huntz’s first projects was the final decision on Meow Wolf’s Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA) with SVCC. The GNA has been unanimously passed by SVCC members and Granville wants to use it as a model for other entities that may enter the nearby stadium district under development. GNA is committed to Meow Wolf providing residents with a future opportunity to experience the Convergence Station. This is an important promise for low-income residents, given the general admission fee of $ 45. Sunvalley also promises art education programs for young people, as well as external murals and beautification projects.

Prior to the opening on September 17, Meow Wolf provided free tickets to Sun Valley residents through organizations such as the Denver Housing Authority, Sun Valley Kitchen & Community Center and Sun Valley Youth Center.

For Speaks and Alfredo Reyes, executive directors of the Latin Center for Cultural Arts, these victories are a good sign that Meow Wolf will continue to address social impact in the Sun Valley. But the story is not over yet. Speaks wants some kind of community advisory board to be reintroduced, whether it’s the same members as before or all new members. Reyes wants Meow Wolf to live in the ideals expressed in the story of the Convergence Station about overcoming the differences with love and kindness. Both say that Meow Wolf’s follow-through depends on what he does with the money he earns in the strangely shaped building that shines next to Corfax.

“We are dealing with a huge space that is trying to generate a lot of profit,” says Speaks. “So the question is what do they do with that benefit.”

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