The experience economy may feel perpetually stalled during the coronavirus pandemic, but Meow Wolf is betting on a quick recovery. The Santa Fe, New Mexico, arts collective, known for its psychedelic live events, is plowing ahead with its newest permanent installation—an interactive grocery store that blends narrative storytelling, technical wizardry, and commerce.
The project, called Omega Mart, will debut in Las Vegas early next year in a 52,000-square-foot space that anchors the city’s Area15 complex, an ambitious retail and entertainment center first announced in 2018. “Omega Mart will be an eye-popping shopping experience where all products have an uncanny ability to fulfill desires beyond expectation,” as Meow Wolf describes it.
For Meow Wolf, the stakes are high. The company was enjoying rapid growth and mainstream success before the pandemic disrupted the live events industry, and COVID-19 has proven itself an unpredictable foe for companies that rely on large gatherings. When I spoke with Ali Rubinstein, Meow Wolf’s chief creative officer and co-CEO, back in June, new case infections were trending downward, and she expressed hope that the normalization of masks and other precautions could spur a quicker return to the events space.
Several weeks later, outbreaks are flaring up across the country and masks are as contentious a political flashpoint as ever, much to the dismay of public health officials who say we should have been wearing them all along. All of which is a way of saying fingers crossed!
You can check out more about the project on the Omega Mart website.