Meow Wolf Underlines Grapevine’s Immersive Entertainment Boom
11 May 2022
It’s official: Meow Wolf (a.k.a. Project Black Corinth in confidential circles here in the Economic Development office) is coming to Grapevine. An immersive art experience with a dedicated following, Meow Wolf is famous for its explosive neon color palette and massive, interactive installations. No two exhibits are alike, from the original House of Eternal Returns in Santa Fe to the much-hyped Omega Mart project in Las Vegas. Precious few details about the Grapevine experience are available today, with construction hidden behind a towering barricade at Grapevine Mills.
But one thing is for sure: Grapevine will host the collaborative’s first Texas location, becoming the eastern-most point in an expanding multiverse of independent-but-connected worlds of art.
The company’s official press release confirms that no final name or theme is ready for the public eye, but artists and staff at Meow Wolf affectionately refer to the 40,000 square-foot box at Grapevine Mills as “Beyond, Beyond, and Beyond;” a fitting extension for the brand's distinct flavor of satire and extraordinary experience blended into objects and locales that would otherwise appear mundane.
Another Game-Changing Attraction in Grapevine, Texas
Our City’s calling card has long been a unique, visitor-friendly atmosphere. Plenty of “first-to-market" projects have arrived in Grapevine over the last few decades, from world-renowned hotels to corporate headquarters and family-friendly attractions (for a detailed list, see our podcast: Growing Grapevine). Adding unique and exciting vendors to the Grapevine portfolio is a time-honored tradition, with Meow Wolf marking the launch of an exciting new chapter for the City. If early projections hold, the new installation will boost annual foot traffic at Grapevine Mills by 600,000-1,000,000; an entire month’s worth of regular visits added on top of the property’s powerful footprint. And we aren’t the only ones excited to see what comes next.
“The Meow Wolf story universe is expanding, and Texas holds the keys to our next chapters,” said Jose Tolosa, CEO of Meow Wolf. “Opening a permanent exhibition in the largest and one of the most diverse states in the country has been on Meow Wolf’s radar for years, and we are excited to be formally underway. The opportunities this state has presented have already become the touchstones of a vibrant, arts-centric portal of imaginative creativity.”
Meow Wolf Grapevine will arrive a year ahead of the collaborative’s next expansion: a development emerging on the scene a few hundred miles south, in Houston. While there has always been thematic overlap within Meow Wolf family, these locations – planned in near-tandem – will have a specific bond.
“We’ve never designed two exhibitions in the same state at the same time. The Texas experiences will be deeply rooted in artist collaboration and connected by concealed Easter eggs,” said Dale Sheehan, Executive Creative Director of Meow Wolf, “Of course, the locations themselves are also creative prompts. In Grapevine, we’ll be leaning into the energy of a shopping center—a nostalgic place for many of us, where families gather and young adults often find their first moments of freedom.”
A Strange New Era?
Visitors looking for a taste of the immersive Meow Wolf experience can explore a smaller-scale concept from a different company at Grapevine Mills soon. Netflix recently announced the launch of an interactive Stranger Things store at the shopping center, complete with iconic locales from the show and, reportedly, a chance to "come face to face with a Demogorgon.” The store will launch on May 25, long before the construction of Meow Wolf is complete.
Together with established virtual experiences like Crush It! Sports Lounge, these new immersive offerings mark an acceleration of the Grapevine market – already a destination for fine dining and entertainment – into a new era. Interactive attractions have been gaining momentum for years. The pandemic delayed their arrival, but it also created lead time for creators to raise capital and develop their ideas. Major brands like Champs Sports and Lululemon have already started to embrace experiential retail setups to draw more customers back to their brick-and-mortar locations, banking on interpersonal connection and the excitement of shared experience to power up their real-world sales.
With these new trends in mind, Grapevine Economic Development has begun actively seeking interactive and immersive concepts to supplement the wealth of entertainment options already present in this market. Last March, Director Larry Holt attended the Entertainment Experience Evolution conference in Los Angeles, California to connect with leaders in the field. The department also sponsored a networking lunch that weekend and has been developing relationships that will someday expand the Grapevine entertainment universe in ways no one could have imagined even a decade ago.
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