Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
Disembodied eyes, giant glowing bones and a 30-foot-tall robot in the parking lot all played a part in making a Santa Fe art exhibit the most popular place in a social media app with hundreds of millions of followers.
That’s according to USA Today, which ranked Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return as the most popular New Mexico locale on Instagram, a photo sharing site owned by Facebook.
Since it opened in March, the site has attracted tens of thousands of visitors and a similar amount of photos on Instagram.
“We sort of pride ourselves on being something that people are excited to share with others,” said Vince Kadlubek, CEO of Meow Wolf. “The general public wants something unique and interesting that’s not your standard corporate experience.”
Instagram is a social media application with 600 million users who share photos of themselves, their pets and interesting places. Meow Wolf falls in the latter category. USA Today based its rankings on the most geo-tagged places within the app in each state. Kadlubek said Meow Wolf has been tagged 30,000 times since it opened in March.
According to Kadlubek, the Santa Fe attraction draws roughly 35,000 visitors a month. Traffic surged this week, and Kadlubek said it is the result of people searching for something to do during the holidays. Inside a former bowling alley in the middle of Santa Fe, Meow Wolf is an interactive art exhibit created by dozens of artists. In one room, you might find massive glowing bones. Strike them and they’ll play a note. Open a refrigerator door in a home and a white tunnel will lead to a space station. In yet another, dozens of huge eyes on a ceiling stare at all who enter.
But most popular are the underwater fish tank exhibit; a dark, snaking corridor filled with fluorescent colored trees that look like coral; and the laser harp, a nearly all-dark room save for red beams that play music when passed through.
People can spend hours at the exhibit. Its vastness is part of what makes it so popular on Instagram, according to Amy Tischler, co-owner of Simply Social Media, a social media consulting group.
Tischler also said the variety of art attracts revisits, which means more photos. And the fact that it’s a permanent exhibition gives people opportunities to post pictures year-round.
“(Meow Wolf) is a brand-new, exciting and totally unique concept,” Tischler said. “People love to post about (a) one-of-a-kind experience.”
Kadlubek said new art will be added to the exhibit soon, which could give a reason for those who have already visited to plan a return visit. And he said the group, which employs about 100 people, will announce plans to expand in the near future.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, White Sands, and the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University campuses were the next-most tagged locations in the state.