Orlando may soon be home to one of the most famous arts collectives in the world

click to enlarge Orlando may soon be home to one of the most famous arts collectives in the world
Image via AREA15
Orlando was once blessed with year-round immersive art experiences like the interactive art show DRIP and the numerous linear storyline-driven productions by Pseudonym Productions. But with DRIP now closed and Pseudonym now operating out of Philadelphia, Central Florida has sat on the sidelines as permanently installed immersive art experiences have opened across the globe.

Florida is now home to more than half a dozen immersive art experiences, with the majority located in South Florida. But Orlando may soon get its own, with some of the largest names in the industry now rumored to be planning their East Coast debut here.

After generating global buzz with their transformation of an abandoned bowling alley, arts collective Meow Wolf opened a second location in Las Vegas in 2020. That location, themed to a grocery store that fronts as a portal to another dimension, is part of a larger interactive arts complex known as AREA15. Meow Wolf now has three locations, including the Vegas one, with the team reviewing dozens of other potential sites around the nation.

The Vegas AREA15 is a joint venture between Beneville Studios and real estate development firm Fisher Brothers. Billed as “the world’s first purpose-built experiential entertainment complex,” AREA15 combines the Meow Wolf with other destination art experiences from creators such as Blue Man Group co-founder Chris Wink and celebrity chef Todd English. Ax throwing, an arcade bar, and an immersive show run by a distillery that Playboy called the “the Willy Wonka of Booze” can also be found in the complex. Following a successful launch in late 2020, the complex has seen a constant stream of new additions. Now, the team behind the popular Vegas destination have their sights set on Orlando.

In late December, Area 15 Orlando LLC purchased 17 acres near the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets for nearly $25 million.  The Orlando Business Journal, expanding upon news first reported in GrowthSpotter regarding the Orlando AREA15 location, confirmed the site is now associated with those behind the Vegas location.

click to enlarge Orlando may soon be home to one of the most famous arts collectives in the world (4)
Image via AREA15
In speaking to the Orlando Business Journal, AREA15 CEO Winston Fisher wouldn’t confirm the Orlando plans but did tease them by saying, “Area15 in Orlando does not exist … yet,” before going on to note how well-positioned the Central Florida market would be for such an experience.

click to enlarge RISE—An Elevated Bar Experience is a 131 feet tall tower with a bar attached to a balloon that rises up through it. - Image via AREA15
Image via AREA15
RISE—An Elevated Bar Experience is a 131 feet tall tower with a bar attached to a balloon that rises up through it.
It’s unclear if any of the same tenants as the Vegas version would be included in Orlando, but in Vegas, the Meow Wolf experience is defined by Fisher Brothers as the “anchor” of the entire complex. In Vegas, a large latticework tower is currently being built. Once finished, a giant balloon with a 16-seat bar attached to it will rise inside the tower. A similar bar would work well in the Orlando location, providing visibility of all the area theme parks. The I-4–adjacent location also means the large sculpture garden in Vegas will also likely be replicated in Orlando.

For now, no details regarding the Orlando site have been announced. In Vegas, the project took just a year and a half to develop once site work began. A similar timeline in Orlando would place the opening roughly a year ahead of the opening of the Epic Universe theme park that’s currently under construction four miles away.

click to enlarge Orlando may soon be home to one of the most famous arts collectives in the world (3)
Image via AREA15




Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

About The Author

Scroll to read more Arts Stories + Interviews articles
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.