Meow Wolf seemed like the great last hope for Santa Fe to have an all-ages arts and music space (no offense, Warehouse 21, I guess I’m just old and jaded now), but things have changed. According to Meow Wolf member and leaseholder Quinn Tincher, shortly before 10 pm on Oct. 7, following a show, the Santa Fe Police Department was dispatched to the warehouse space on the corner of Hopewell and Second streets due to a noise complaint.
Purportedly, this wasn’t the first time cops had shown up for this reason. Tincher says he was informed that if the police were asked to return, he would be arrested. According to SFPD public information officer Sgt. Jason Wagner, a police unit was dispatched shortly before 10 pm that evening due to a noise complaint in the general vicinity; however, no official report was filed that night or at any other time against Meow Wolf since January 2009, according to public records requested by SFR. As for the arrest warning, Wagner says he’s never seen anyone arrested for a noise complaint, although it’s conceivable it could happen in conjunction with other criminal behavior.
At any rate, the warning led the collective to scale back the number of shows it puts on. For some, this is an opportunity to focus more on its visual offerings. For others (namely me and anyone who gets excited about hearing original music), this is a huge blow to the music scene.
Meow Wolf runs its operation on a shoestring budget yet still brought some of the best bands I’ve seen or heard all year. On the downside, the collective booked any band that asked for a place to play, and lacks organization and promotion. I hear (or should hear) about everything that’s going on musically in Santa Fe, yet rarely receive notice from Meow Wolf for upcoming musical performances or art exhibits. As a result of the overbooking and underpromoting, some of its shows were sparsely attended.
“We’d gotten to the point where we were booking three or more shows a week, and not being as organized as we’d like to be didn’t make for a great booking space,” Tincher tells SFR.
Its organizers wish for Meow Wolf to be a free-flowing space open to anyone. But organization is key to pulling off a successful art collective, and its members could stand to be a little less anarchistic when executing events.
Meow Wolf will continue hosting music shows, but fewer of them. “We’re looking more at doing maybe a show or two a month, and always on a weekend,” member Matt King says.
Corazón stepped up to host some of the bands that were previously booked at Meow Wolf and would have otherwise been left high and dry. Though this is good news, it doesn’t compensate for the loss of an all-ages venue. Shouldn’t the community rally around any organization that offers an interesting and exciting scene for arts and music for all demographics?
In the end, we’re talking about a group of people who are paying out-of-pocket to bring accessible outsider art to our community. It’s almost there, but just like anything worth doing or paying attention to, Meow Wolf needs a little work.