Immersive art has experienced a massive surge in popularity recently. From Meow Wolf to Shiki Dreams by Prismajic — it seems like Denver just can’t get enough of this art form. When the COVID-19 pandemic first began — there was uncertainty surrounding the future of immersive art — which usually involves plenty of interactive elements. However, one local art experience has made cleaning a priority and has reduced physical touch points — proving to the Denver art scene that immersive art is going nowhere. Spookadelia is an immersive series by local art studio Spectra Art Space. This year’s experience — Spookadelia: Back to the Source — explores the depths of the human psyche while also making social and environmental commentaries.
If you didn’t get the chance to visit the first and second installments of Spookadelia — the storyline follows the Spectra Specter — a magical being that haunts the earth after learning that humans were destroying the planet. In Spookadelia 1 — visitors had to navigate through an enchanted forest to find an old Crone and seek forgiveness for the evils of humanity. In Spookadelia 2 — the Spectra Specter continued to haunt the earth with the help of her partner in crime — Sugar Plum Scary. The Specter and Sugar Plum Scary managed to capture the Crone and banish her to a realm called The Source. In this latest installment of the series — visitors must figure out how to free the Crone and return her to the forest.
The experience features two indoor sections and one outdoor portion. The main room —which is known as The Source — is where visitors first enter and must free the Crone. It’s laid out in an escape room format — if you find four clues hidden throughout the room, you’ll be able to free the Crone. In order to find the clues, you need to explore four aspects of the human psyche — the Ego, the Persona, the Shadow and the Self. With only a few hints as a guide, you’ll leave The Source with plenty of introspective thoughts as the experience takes you to the depths of your consciousness.
“I was drawing a blank on what to do this year because of the shutdowns,” Spectra Art Space owner Sadie Young said, “We started talking about what people really needed right now. We wanted to either get across a message of love or of hope, but I feel like to get to hope you first need self-love.”
Self-love is a message you’ll find throughout the entire experience. Young was a psychology major for her first three years of college and is fascinated by the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. A quote by Jung is part of one of the clues you’ll find in the main room — “You are more than the social role dictated by the persona.” Young hopes that these messages will strike visitors during a time where loving oneself can be difficult.
The entire Spookadelia series has taken approximately two years to put together. The newest installation on its own took about four months and was done by a team of talented artists from Spectra. On top of the art pieces — you’ll also experience a video created by local performance artists. While the entire experience is three rooms — visitors can expect to spend approximately an hour exploring the space. From the tiniest bottles of candy — to a giant dragon — the art installations are seemingly endless and you’ll want to explore them all.
“It would be amazing if people would notice every single detail we put into this experience,” Young said. “But the main thing I want people to get from this is that it is so important to love yourself and love others, and you can’t get to one without the other.”
The experience is currently set to run through November — but Young shared that Spectra will be adding another indoor portion of the experience come December so that visitors will have even more time to explore this year’s installment. Young also stressed that while Spookadelia is marketed as a Halloween activity — the themes are just as relevant even after October is over. Also, no portion of the experience is inherently scary — so you can feel free to bring along children for a family friendly activity.
In order to stay as safe as possible during the pandemic — visitors must book a time slot online. Your party will then have 30 minutes to solve the puzzle and explore the first two rooms, and then another 20 minutes to explore the outdoor portion of the experience. The Spectra team is thoroughly sanitizing the rooms after each party to ensure a safe environment. To get the most out of the experience — book a time slot after dark — when the lights from the outdoor portion stand out the most.
This third installment of the Spookadelia series is psychedelic, driven by a strong narrative and will be sure to leave you thinking about the intricacies of the human psyche. Visitors will be forced to look within themselves in order to free the Crone. At the end of it all — you might just know a little more about self-love.
“Spookadelia: Back to the Source is open Wednesday – Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person for a group of 2-4 people with discounted pricing for larger parties. To find out more information and to purchase tickets, click here. Spectra Art Space is located at 1836 South Broadway, Denver.
Photos by Barbara Urzua