Sustainability Labs: General Information

Creative media-makers flock to Portland, embracing a unique creative ecosystem here that isn’t content to be contained. 

The Sustainability Labs are at home in Portland where locally based, boundary-pushing artists like Kelly Reichardt (First Cow), Donal Moser & Michael Palmieri (The Gospel Of Eureka), Skye Fitzgerald (Hunger Ward), Mobile Projection Unit, David Cress (Portlandia), Jillann Spitzmiller (Meow Wolf), and Rose Bond, work alongside companies and creators of XR, gaming, branded content, and experiential storytelling.LAIKA (Kubo and the Two Strings) and Shadow Machine (Tuca and Bertie) work with top artists and animators. Experiential, XR and multimedia branded opportunities are growing. With companies like Netflix and A24 currently in production—attracting talents such as Guillermo del Toro and Jordan Peele—and series from Top Chef to Shrill recently created here, Portland and PAM CUT continue to evolve the narrative. 

Why Now? 

Successfully making a cinematic art form is a feat in and of itself, but sustaining a career in the film and media industry continues to be difficult because of lack of access to mentors, industry leaders, tools, and strategies necessary in communities outside of major cities. This lab, a pilot program that uniquely prioritizes holistic career advancement and sustainability over singular project completion, will act as a catalyst not only for select artists but for our community and the ecosystem at large. 

Despite Portland’s unique and thriving creative scene, PAM CUT’s Sustainability Labs exist out of a deep need to ensure that talented, multidisciplinary media storytellers receive the support, resources, and connections to a variety of professional opportunities necessary to thrive creatively, financially, and personally in this ever-changing landscape.  

How is it different? 

The program focuses on a more “cinema unbound” approach, embracing artists’ multiplicities and de-siloing modes of storytelling to provide greater opportunity and access. Serving six mid-career storytellers working in a variety of mediums (film, television, animation, artists working in XR, audio, new media or hybrid forms, etc.), the Lab is created to help those in search of guidance on the next steps of harnessing and expanding their creative and business talents across multiple platforms. 

This will include individual, bespoke support on business plans, project and personal financial planning, creative brand expansion, growth opportunities as well as small group sessions on mental health, balance, and personal sustainability. In order for the Labs to be a sustainable program for artists to participate, a $2,500 stipend will be provided, as well as travel and lodging in Portland for October. 

Ultimately, the Labs are focused on improving equity, creative diversity, and sustainability in cinematic storytelling in all its forms. In our ongoing commitment to inclusion in media arts, at least 50% of artists who participate in the Sustainability Labs will be representative of marginalized or underrepresented communities (Black, indigenous, artists of color, women artists, trans/nonbinary artists). We will also bring together both NW artists and (inter)national artists, uplifting the region’s talent to a global scale and creating long-lasting interconnected cohorts that can support one another now and into the future.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and generous contributions from Joan Cirillo, Roger Cooke, and the Reil Foundation for Arts & Creativity. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Who is the Lab for? 

U.S. Creators, artists, directors, and producers looking to change their personal model of creative financial and business sustainability. Mid-career artists and storytellers are preferred, with a minimum of one significant project completed in at least two disciplines or mediums; alternatively, if the applicant has completed work on a project and is now in significant development in a new medium, form, or format, we will consider on a case-by-case basis. 

The Labs will take place in three sections: 

First Session

  • A one-week intensive, in which participants will work with professional mentors, life coaches, and guest presenters, to isolate professional needs, set goals, and strategize a sustainable path forward. 

Second Session

  • Personal one-to-one check-ins with a life coach to track progress and make adjustments as necessary. 

Third Session

  • Present at an event in Portland and/or along with pitching a project for a select group of professionals. 

Do I need to have an active project(s) to focus on? 

Unlike other labs that focus on project-based development, this Lab is for career, creative and personal development. We will certainly talk about your projects, goals, and upcoming opportunities, but the focus will be squarely on you. 

How does it work? 

Working with professional mentors, life coaches, and guest presenters, participants will open doors to their own unique potentials and skills, establishing tangible short and long-term goals to ensure that their creative, financial, and personal sustainability is maintained. 

  • Individual goal setting and project management consulting for an existing project
  • Personal brand building & audience engagement strategy
  • Goal setting for career sustainability (i.e. expanded access to job opportunities, meetings with key industry leaders, pitching and key marketing materials, improved connectivity within the NW and introductions to global marketplace leadership, agency or gallery representation, etc.)
  • Financial forecasting & sustainability (career coaching, goal setting, setting up LLC/business plans, debt management, etc.). 


What if I choose to participate remotely? 

Participants will receive a stipend for participating which includes travel and lodging. If one is unable to attend in-person PAM CUT is making plans for inclusion regardless.

What is the timeline? When do I find out if I am selected? 

Submissions for Fall 2022 are now closed

How much does it cost? 

There is an administrative $35 application fee. If you feel you are unable to pay this fee or have a significant hindrance from doing so, please reach out.

For questions or if you would like this application in a different format or have accessibility requests, please contact Ben Popp, Head of Artist Services –