Marsi Gray joined the Santa Fe Meow Wolf operation in 2017 but spent much of the past year in Las Vegas to help create Omega Mart (3215 S. Rancho Drive) at Area15. As Senior Creative Producer for the project, a big part of her job is spreadsheets and budgeting, but she also plays the role of art curator.
Overall, more than 60 distinct spaces were brought to life by at least 350 collaborators, including visual artists, musicians and writers. Omega Mart begins as a twisted take on a conventional grocery store, but secretive pathways lead to other areas, culminating in an experiential journey of sights, sounds and the flat-out bizarre. Part of the fun is exploring individual examples of art within the enormity of the 52,000-square-foot installation.
One of Gray’s favorite pieces is “Pulse” by Claudia Bueno—a small room framed by hand-painted layers of acrylic plexiglass. The designs are illuminated in various patterns, creating an engaging, unique form of animation. “It’s such a relaxing, beautiful space,” Gray says.
Festivals, Art and Evolution
Before joining Meow Wolf, Gray was a film and TV producer in Los Angeles, eventually moving into high-end post production and visual effects. She started working festivals on the side, which grew in scope and became her full-time gig, most notably with Lightning in a Bottle and Symbiosis Gathering.
Blast off to the cosmos 🚀⚡️ 📷: Get Tiny PhotographyPosted by Lightning in a Bottle on Monday, September 14, 2020
“I curated all of the artisans and vendors, plus all of the food,” she remembers. “I did a lot of work with small micro-immersive environments, as well, and helped develop those in the West Coast festival scene.”
Special shoutout to Kate Raudenbush, one of my very favorite sculptural artists for dreaming this piece, Helios, into reality. <3 <3 <3 Photo by Scott LondonPosted by Marsi Gray on Thursday, January 5, 2017
Gray first connected with Meow Wolf when she recruited the team to host Helter Shelter, a pop-up exhibit of small cottages at the Oregon Eclipse Festival in 2017. “That’s how I met them,” Gray says. “We all fell in love, and I moved to Santa Fe to work with them.”
The Frosting on the Cake
Gray says Las Vegas is full of “super-amazing artists” but is surprised at the lack of gallery spaces and art museums, counting the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art at UNLV as a much-appreciated exception. It’s one of the reasons it was important for Meow Wolf to include local artists in bringing Omega Mart to life.
“We actually have a process called The Frosting, which is the final layer we put on top of everything,” Gray explains. “We hired a number of local Las Vegas artists to come work side by side and put all the finishing touches on the exhibit.”
After 25 years in production and design, Gray relishes the opportunity to share large-scale immersive art with a new audience in Las Vegas. Don’t waste any time in reserving tickets. Omega Mart quickly sold out its first weekend and is on pace to remain a hot ticket in the foreseeable future.