New Attraction Is Some Kind of WNDR-Full – San Diego Business Journal

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TOURISM: WNDR San Diego Opening in Gaslamp Quarter in January
San Diegans are on the cusp of the birth of a very untraditional kind of museum, one offering overall multisensory experiences not previously collectively seen, heard or felt in the region.
WNDR Global, a cultural and artistic hub that combines original, eclectic technology with hands-on, immersive art, is opening a San Diego site in January.
The WNDR San Diego museum will start welcoming visitors on Jan. 11 inside The Broker’s Building, the historic development built in 1889 at 422 Market St., and renovated in 2020.
WNDR officials say that the 15,000-square-foot museum will disrupt and redefine the traditional museum experience by inviting guests to fully engage with artworks and multi-sensory installations created by cutting edge artists, collectives, technologists, designers and makers.
“We are ultimately thrilled to bring in our experience to the city of San Diego,” said Ryan Kunkel, WNDR Global president. “San Diego is a vibrant city with a strong identity and local arts community, but there’s also some voids, and we feel as though the blend of art and tech is a beautiful complement to the city and the exciting offerings that San Diego already has.”
The museum will offer more than 20 multidimensional exhibits created to ignite the senses through sound, sight and touch. WNDR San Diego exhibits will be consistently curated by leaning into cutting-edge technologies to enhance installations and adding new immersive experiences year-round. All exhibits will intersect art and technology.
Betsy Brennan, president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, said WNDR San Diego is a great addition to the region.
“Downtown is known as a vibrant destination for arts and culture with more than 90 institutions and continues to experience investment and growth that attracts interest from residents across the region and visitors worldwide,” she said. “We know arts and culture institutions are also one of the key components that our community values most, and that’s why we’re thrilled to welcome the WNDR Museum to Downtown and to be chosen as the first West Coast location for this one-of-a-kind immersive experience.”
Plans for coming exhibits include a light floor with hundreds of pressure sensors that react to moves of participants; a quantum mirror made up of more than 150 mirrors in an “infinity room”; and an attraction called “InsideOut” that offers an immersive 360-degree video, light and sound experience related to the comings and goings of thunderstorms.
The museum will also act as a gathering place for the community, a place for dialogue, discussion and collaboration and will offer a private events space for businesses to engage their team members, as well as be a stop for tourists and convention travelers.
WNDR San Diego will also partner and engage with schools as part of STEM and STEAM learning.
“We’re thrilled to join the ranks of such an incredibly dynamic arts and culture scene in San Diego,” said WNDR San Diego Creative Director David Allen, a curator with a resume that includes 11 years as a tattoo artist in Chicago and 25 years as a self-employed painter.
“At WNDR, we share the same core values exemplified in the art throughout the city – accessibility, diversity and a dedication to creating and displaying art that sparks conversation across the entire cultural landscape.”
WNDR Global’s Chicago flagship site has had nearly 1 million visitors since opening in 2018, its experiential art, combining sound technology and visuals, offering a one-of-a-kind fully immersive experience. In July 2022, WNDR Museum was voted one of the top five immersive art experiences in the country by USA Today’s Reader Poll.
The WNDR San Diego museum is the first in a planned nationwide expansion from Chicago – 2023 museum openings are planned in Boston and Seattle.
San Diego was chosen as the first next spot for WNDR Global because it is home to “a dynamic, inclusive art scene (and) world-class cultural institutions” Kunkel said.
WNDR San Diego will also feature a VR installation created by digital artist OseanWorld (Osean) and inspired by the WNDR collection of Yayoi Kusama. Each door is a portal to a virtual interpretation of these Kusama works as translated by Osean. Coding and mechanics were built by 3-D artist Iron Biscuit.
WNDR Global was founded by tech entrepreneur Brad Keywell in 2018 as a popup in Chicago. It grew so popular that it became a permanent, private, for-profit museum after six months.
Keywell is also founder and executive chairman of AI software provider Uptake Technologies and has a vast resume, including being a founding investor of Tempus, and a founder of Groupon, MediaOcean, Echo Global Logistics and Drivin. He is also an investor in Sprout Social, Udemy, Fiverr, Reverb, CrowdRise, GoPuff and more.
Tickets for WNDR San Diego are $32 for basic admission and $50 for the VIP experience. For more information, visit wndrmuseum.com
WNDR Global
FOUNDED: 2018
FOUNDER: Brad Keywell
PRESIDENT: Ryan Kunkel
CREATIVE DIRECTOR WNDR SAN DIEGO: David Allen
GM WNDR SAN DIEGO: Andy Grantz
HEADQUARTERS: Chicago
BUSINESS: Museum
EMPLOYEES: 100
WEBSITE: wndrmuseum.com
CONTACT: wndrmuseum.com/contact/
SOCIAL IMPACT: WNDR is committed to elevating STEAM and STEM education in communities, and provides inclusive and accessible space for all creators.
NOTABLE: WNDR is opening other sites in Boston and Seattle in 2023.
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