Roden Crater Set to Open Thanks to Kanye West’s $10M Donation

It will take $200M for artist James Turrell to complete the project.

roden crater
James Turrell lies near the center of Roden Crater and looks heavenward. (Photo by Con Keyes/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LA Times via Getty Images

In the early 1970s, James Turrell, an American light and space artist, began buying parts of an extinct volcano to turn Roden Crater into a spectacular display. Some 40 plus years later, along with a $10 million injection from Kanye West, the art space is set to open in the next few years.

Located northeast of Flagstaff in Arizona, Roden Crater is what’s left from an extinct volcano.

Inspired by sixteenth century “naked eye observatories,”  Turrell studied these structures and adapted their key features in his designs for Roden Crater.

During planning and construction, Turrell consulted with E.C. Krupp, the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and Richard Walker, an U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer.

In the late 1970s, early construction on the crater saw over 1.3 million cubic yards of earth moved to create its bowl and east tunnel. Now that work is resuming and once it is complete, the project will contain six tunnels housing 21 viewing spaces.

Just last month Kanye West was meeting with Turrell to see the space and forked over $10M to help the project along.

The site is managed by Arizona State University which is working to raise the $200M needed to complete the project.

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