SANTA FE ― Meow Wolf has experienced a phenomenal ride to international renown with over one million visitors in the two years since House Of Eternal Return opened to non-stop acclaim in 2016. Like many overnight successes, this one was a decade in the making and included years of dumpster diving for supplies, unsafe facilities at rock bottom prices, and long hours at low-pay jobs in between the precious midnight hours available to create community.
Meow Wolf lived on the fringes of Santa Fe in a series of small DIY or “Do it Yourself” venues for nearly ten years but at long last, with some cash at hand, this is the time to pay it forward through the DIY Fund.
A Phoenix Rising
The genesis of The Meow Wolf DIY Fund was the collective’s heartbreak to learn that one of the musicians lost in the tragic December 2016 Ghost Ship fire in Oakland was Chelsea Faith Dolan, also known as her artist name Cherushii. She headlined Meow Wolf’s 2015 New Year’s Eve party and composed music for the group’s House Of Eternal Return. This tragedy occurred at a DIY space that looked a lot like the type of space Meow Wolf grew from. As politicians and city officials across the country responded to the tragedy by shutting the spaces down, Meow Wolf immediately leaped into action to change the trajectory of the conversation and stand up for the immense and necessary value that DIY spaces add to our cities.
Through the DIY Fund—a brand new video appears here—a wide variety of small community art spaces receive grant money to pay for everything from infrastructure improvements to rent, safety, materials and equipment. Last year, Meow Wolf awarded more than $215,000 to 106 DIY spaces throughout the nation. One recipient, Project Project, typified the response with “You just gave us 30 percent of our annual budget!”
Meow Wolf also offered to consult with artists to navigate the bureaucratic nightmare of finances and code enforcement.
“Meow Wolf knows the school of hard knocks and the tortuous path that artists face operating an alternative venue to build authentic community,” said CEO Vince Kadlubek. “We know the evils of gentrification, the lack of affordable housing, and the absence of any jobs let alone fulfilling and well-paying ones. We also know the intense pressures to homogenize and be absorbed into conformist ways of living and working that don’t do anybody—artist, patron or community—any good. We stand in solidarity with creative groups around the world and honor them as highly essential agents for a healthy and thriving society. The only way we can have non-conformed and interesting culture is if we have non-conformed and interesting space.”
Meow Wolf has increased the projected 2018 DIY Fund to $250,000. Any business or individual can contribute to the fund through popular crowdfunding site Indiegogo, which can be accessed through www.meowwolf.com/diy and the Indiegogo site. The new application portal launches Aug. 21 and by year’s end Meow Wolf will select and present funds to the artists.
Key 2018 dates:
Aug. 21 ― DIY Fund application opens
Sept. 30 ― DIY Fund application closes
Dec. 31 ― Award notifications and funding completed
To apply, please be an existing U.S. arts or music space that receives less than $50,000 in annual funding. Applicants must operate a physical space where creativity is produced by a community of artists and must specify their greater community impact. Meow Wolf welcomes all kinds of artist groups: visual, music venue, performance, literary and more.