Meow Wolf announces its Los Angeles venue

Immersive entertainment firm Meow Wolf, whose multiple locations of floor-to-ceiling psychedelic-leaning art have attracted about 10 million visitors across its four venues since 2016, has revealed the location of its in-development Los Angeles-based exhibition.

Meow Wolf Los Angeles will be located in a portion of what is currently the Cinemark complex at Howard Hughes L.A. The rest of the multiplex is expected to remain open to moviegoers, according to a spokesperson for the Santa Fe, N.M.-based Meow Wolf.

The exhibit is expected to open in 2026.

“We’re crafting our next surreal dream world in a movie theater in West Los Angeles, a nod to the cinematic soul of the city,” said Amanda Clay, chief development officer at Meow Wolf, in a release.

“HHLA, nestled close to LAX, and just off the 405, is positioned at the convergence of abundant culture and opportunity,” Clay added in the statement. “Meow Wolf Los Angeles will draw inspiration from its surroundings and translate them into something otherworldly, never-before-seen, and yet familiar to Angelenos.”

In an interview with The Times, Meow Wolf artists said the Howard Hughes location will play into the space’s theatrical roots. The goal is to turn our city’s most ritualistic experience — that is, the act of going to the movies — into an interactive, art-driven wonderland.

Anticipate multiple rooms of narrative-based art that strive to test perceptions, grappling with not only the stories we tell one another but why we tell them, says Meow Wolf co-founder Sean Di Ianni, 39, who is overseeing the L.A. project.

“There are stories told in movie theaters, and then there are stories of movie theaters and stories of the people who work at movie theaters,” Di Ianni said. “But when you get into that auditorium, it’s meant to be a blank space where stories are told. It’s a little meta. This is a storytelling space about storytelling.”

Like past Meow Wolf exhibitions, a significant number of installations will come from the local art community. Meow Wolf curator Han Santana-Sayles, 31, a Murrieta native who now resides in Pasadena, will lead the outreach into L.A.’s art world, a process that is in its infancy. A Meow Wolf space is a mix of elaborately designed environments and commissioned works from artists who reside in the host city.

“I’m looking for a super broad range,” she says. “I want to include people who do wild projection mapping. But I also want to find people who do just pastels — really, really well. Or they’re painters. Or they draw. They’ve honed in on this one thing. We don’t want it to read as a theme park. We’re a contemporary arts platform.”

While Di Ianni is keeping much of the narrative a secret, he said the team envisioned as its setting “a world at a distant crossroads” in the midst of some sort of ritual.

“What if this place we’re creating has some event that occurs, and people are drawn to this event the way people are drawn to a panda being born at a zoo?” Di Ianni says.“

This exhibit,” Santana-Sayles added, “grapples with big mystical and religious questions. Not overtly, but in a way people will read themselves into. I think there’s a lot to be explored there.”

The Los Angeles location will be Meow Wolf’s sixth exhibit. Last year, the group opened a location outside of Dallas in Grapevine, Texas. A Houston exhibit is expected to open later this year. There are additional spaces in Denver, Las Vegas and Meow Wolf’s home city of Santa Fe.

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