A new orbit: Former Meow Wolf CEO hopes latest venture delivers imagination, creativity and the arts - Albuquerque Journal

A new orbit: Former Meow Wolf CEO hopes latest venture delivers imagination, creativity and the arts

Santa Fe-based Vince Kadlubek recently started a creative consultant agency called Spacial Activations. (Courtesy of Kate Russell)

A year ago, Vince Kadlubek announced he was stepping down as Meow Wolf CEO.

He was instrumental in Meow Wolf’s transformation from a funky Santa Fe arts collective into an international cultural phenomenon.

The Santa Fe native has remained involved with Meow Wolf on its board, as well as an executive advisor.

Now, Kadlubek is ready to start a new adventure.

“It’s a big revolution for me,” he says. “A lot of people say it’s on to a new chapter. This is an entire volume that has come to a close. It’s been a big arc over the last six years.”

Kadlubek started his own creative consultant agency called Spatial Activations, with his friend and executive assistant, Jennifer Lievois.

After six years of leading Meow Wolf as CEO, Kadlubek was replaced by three executives – Ali Rubinstein (chief creative officer), Carl Christensen (chief financial officer) and Jim Ward (chief of content).

“I stepped aside because I knew what was best for the company is the officers that were hired to get the massive projects on track and get them to the finish line,” Kadlubek says. “Meow Wolf is in such good hands and it’s in a solid place.”

Kadlubek sees Spacial Activations as a new horizon.

He plans to bring new projects into his life, as well as remain attached to Meow Wolf. In fact, Meow Wolf is the first client for Spacial Activations.

“Meow Wolf is the center of gravity (for me),” he says. “But I’m looking for new opportunities that come into my life. They are going to be orbiting around Meow Wolf in one way or another.”

The plan for the new agency is finding clients and creative studios to connect them to Meow Wolf.

Kadlubek aims to find developers, retailers, brands and municipalities that want to use creativity and immersive arts to reach new heights.

“Activating space gets it all started,” he says. “The best way is to activate that space with art and culture.”

The agency will allow Kadlubek to work with other industries, build new relationships, and bring forward new opportunities to transform the world into a more imaginative place.

“Spatial Activations does exactly that, we help activate space to bring imagination, creativity, and vibe to locations,” he says. “We can help activate space physically through art, murals, sculpture, interactive installation, performance, food, projection mapping, events, parties, etc. And digitally through spatial computing, AR/VR, audio-visual, mobile platforms, etc.”

Kadlubek is also thinking about a family with kids.

“It’s putting yourself in the mind set of what it means to be a 10 year old,” Kadlubek explains. “Figuring out what is captivating to them and what is accessible to them. Every member of the family really wants to go. To me, that’s the secret sauce. Too often creativity and art, they aren’t accessible, and they don’t welcome people in that way.”

Kadlubek and the Meow Wolf artists helped return life to the former Silva Lanes in spring 2016 with the help of media impresario George R.R. Martin, best known for his “Song of Ice and Fire” series, which was the basis for the HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

The result was the art installation, “House of Eternal Return.”

By July 2018, attendance at the edgy arts installation hit 1 million visitors, driven mostly by word of mouth and a solitary billboard on Interstate 25 heading north from Albuquerque. Expansion plans include Las Vegas, Nevada, Denver, Phoenix and Washington D.C.

Kadlubek says everyone wants to capture the magic of innovation to get people to show up.

“That’s where the agency comes in,” he says. “Everybody wants to experience something incredible. There’s no better way to do that than art and creativity.”

Kadlubek is ready to bring that artful magic to other projects and entities.

He’s also looking at getting involved in housing developments – a few projects are in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

“Working with folks on how to activate space while living in a community,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be an attraction. We can live amongst space. Even our housing communities can have interesting spacial activations.”

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