Meow Wolf’s long-anticipated exhibit debuts: ‘It’s awesome’

Padraic O’Neill, right, a member of Make Santa Fe, explains his 3-D printer project to guests at the Meow Wolf Art Complex on Wednesday. Clyde Mueller/The New Mexican

Nestled inside the Meow Wolf Art Complex on Rufina Circle is a large room housing 3-D and large-format printers, scanners, computer-controlled routers, sewing machines and an assortment of hand tools.

The room is the new permanent home of Make Santa Fe, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing together creative entrepreneurs in Santa Fe and giving them a place to experiment with their ideas. Make Santa Fe’s organizers developed the space after hearing from hundreds of people at public gatherings.

“People were really excited about having a place that’s like a gym, but instead of equipment for working out your body, this will be to exercise your creative muscles with all of this equipment,” said Zane Fischer, a Make Santa Fe coordinator-at-large and owner of the design-build company Extraordinary Structures.

Make Santa Fe hosted a grand opening at its new space on Wednesday, the same night Meow Wolf hosted a special viewing of its first permanent immersive art exhibit, House of Eternal Return.

“In the Meow Wolf exhibition here, many of the artists have used a CNC router that takes a full sheet of plywood to make really ornate shapes. When you see the facade of the really beautiful Victorian house, they did a lot of work with one of these tools,” Fischer said. “That same tool will be available for members of the Maker Space to do large-scale projects.”

People pay monthly or yearly membership fees, which gives them access to the shops and equipment, a list of other members and special workshops. Certification courses on using some of the tools are also available for a fee.

Make Santa Fe bills itself as a place where people with different talents can collaborate, not just a bunch of desks next to each other. The group’s website says it is a place where “it’s okay to fail” and “not a place where it’s hard to get up and try again.”

Organizers say Make Santa Fe is about real face-to-face interactions and is not just a website.

The organization’s board includes an MIT entrepreneur, two artists, a scholarly librarian and three people involved with the Santa Fe Institute, a cutting-edge research center that fosters projects between scientific disciplines.

“We saw a community need for a maker space,” said Juniper Lovato, director of education at the Santa Fe Institute. “We have a huge wealth of creative people in Santa Fe. We see the value of mixing those creative people together.”

Ginger Richardson, who worked with education and outreach at the Santa Fe Institute for nearly three decades, said the space is a place where people can teach one another. “The way people learn things authentically is by doing things,” said Richardson, who built her own sailboat decades ago.

Contact Staci Matlock at 505-986-3055 or smatlock@sfnewmexican.com. Follow her on Twitter @StaciMatlock.