Among the eight finalists for SITE Santa Fe's micro-granting initiative, SPREAD, one will walk away with…let's see, the minimum ticket price ($15) times 350-ish people, factor in the sliding scale for tickets by income profiles, then…well, enough money to get his/her/their project through the proverbial door. The other finalists will have to settle for friends and family saying, "Just getting this far is an honor."

I'm being snarky, yes, but the sentiment is true: SITE's selection committee whittled the entrants down from nearly 40, according to SITE representative Anne Wrinkle. Attendees choose the winning project the night of the event based on any number of measures including personal taste and whim.

"Whoa, that's cool!" also factors in: Hours into my tenure as SFR's arts and culture editor, a co-worker asked if I'd heard about the art collective Meow Wolf and its interdimensional ship, The Due Return. New to town as of late September, I'd actually heard about the project two other times in discussions about the local art scene.

My much-celebrated predecessor, Rani Molla, wrote the following: "The Due Return's sheer immensity and ambition are staggering. It leave[s] my mind stammering with shameful banalities: 'It's so big!' 'There's so much stuff!' 'I like it!'"

In addition to Kickstarter, the Albuquerque Community Foundation and private donors, Meow Wolf has SPREAD to thank for the ship's arrival last spring (the interactive exhibition lasted through Aug. 21).

This Friday, attendees will choose from the following by dropping their ballots in a box at the end of dinner: Eric Maddox's Virtual Dinner Guest Project; Jason Jaacks' Reel Youth Stories Project; Louis Schalk's Museum of Reaccession; Munson Hunt's Reclamation, Nancy Zastudil and Margarita Cabrera's Florezca, New Mexico; Susan McAllister's One Million Bones; Theater Grottesco and Out of Context Orchestra's Storm; and Wise Fool New Mexico's InMigration.

We've written about Virtual Dinner Guest a couple times [cover story, Aug. 17: "Tables Without Borders"; SFR Picks, Oct. 19: "Pass the Virtual Salt"], so you may think we're partial to that project, but some of us in the office (read: me) find ourselves drawn to Storm and InMigration.

Using improvisational orchestration, projections, actors and lighting supplied by stationary bicycles, Storm "open[s] the door on critical threads of our national psyche that prevent us from taking action, including our relationship with 'truth,' addiction and the nature of paradigm," the group says on SPREAD's website.

According to Wise Fool, InMigration consists of structures that transform "from gigantic body extensions to 'homes' with performers perched atop, moving between, and revealing from within." The collective hopes that circus performance, puppetry and theater will rouse social consciousness and artistic practice as a part of daily life (read: Burning Man every day).

Details on all the finalists can be found at

Details on ticket sales can be found here (pay attention—the process has changed): Beginning
6 pm Wednesday, tickets go on sale for museum members only. On Thursday, the general public gets its shot, 5 pm at Acequia Booksellers in Albuquerque, and 6 pm at SITE.

All tickets must be bought on site with cash; only two per person, ranging from $15-$50—SITE developed a clever little poster determining how much you should pay by your preferred mode of transportation.

All of the cash goes to the winning project that very night. SITE picks up the tab for the dinner, and then the SPREAD host committee throws an after-party at The Ore House at Milagro; members of Meow Wolf judge the costume contest.

I imagine the SPREAD winner will have no stops through this door, either, but nothing's to stop you from covering the $5-$10 door charge for the other honored finalists.