We previously announced that Dent 2020’s opening reception will be held at Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf. But we’re even more excited to announce that Meow Wolf Founder Vince Kadlubek will be delivering a keynote address!
Our theme this year is “Reinvention.” Vince Kadlubek reinvented himself and his business many times over. You won’t want to miss out, so apply for Dent 2020 now.
In high school, Vince Kadlubek wrote a story about a kid who “hates school. He hates the government. He hates money. He hates the fake.” By age 32, he was “making $50/day delivering food, living at my parents’ house on the south side of Santa Fe, and dreaming of becoming an accomplished playwright.”
Vince’s first reinvention was transforming from a Caulfield-esque anti-establishment loner into a member of a collective. Vince teamed up with a group of weird-art-making, anarchy-minded, psychedelic-using kids. They put a bunch of random words in a hat and pulled out two: “meow” and “wolf.” And thus the collective was born.
“All of a sudden,” Vince said, “I found myself in an entirely new existence with unreal momentum.”
After a few exhibitions, the collective quickly found the non-profit arts organization model unsustainable—creatively, inter-personally, and (unsurprisingly) financially. The solution, Vince found, was to create their own institution.
In 2017, Meow Wolf became a corporation accountable to a board of directors and under Vince’s leadership—no longer a non-profit answerable to a collective of artists. They began attracting VC funding. By 2019, they had hired executives from Disney and Goldman Sachs, employed more than 500 people, and had scored a nine-figure valuation,
This sort of reinvention is the stuff of Silicon Valley fantasies—rapid growth, a “viral sensation,” and a swarm of VC funding.
It’s not without its challenges. How do you go from making cool shit with your rowdy crew to multiple major expansions? How do you go from an anarchistic collective to corporation? And how do you do it without losing the friends you made along the way? We’re excited to find out. Apply for Dent 2020 now.