Sustainability Labs

Group of smiling people on a pink couch
2023 Sustainability Labs Fellows Kelli Williams, Tiare Ribeaux, Liam Whitworth, Spencer Garland, and Liz n’ Bow celebrating the end of their first week of the program. 

PAM CUT’s unique Sustainability Labs return this year with a new slate of multi-disciplinary, mid-career artists working at the intersection of art, technology, and storytelling.

The Sustainability Labs focuses on US-based creators, artists, directors, and producers looking to change their personal models of creative, financial, and business sustainability. The 6-month program is designed to support talented media storytellers. Artists receive support, resources, and connections to professional opportunities to diversify and thrive creatively, financially, and personally.

Each artist receives a $3,000 stipend and assigned a mentor in line with their creative visions. Artists also have access to renowned producer and media industry life coach Kisha Cameron who’s worked with artists at the Sundance Institute, Film Independent, and The Gotham.

About Sustainability Labs

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. The Lab is a pilot program that uniquely prioritizes holistic career advancement and sustainability over singular project completion. The Lab will act as a catalyst for select artists, our community, and the ecosystem at large. 

Despite Portland’s unique and thriving creative scene, PAM CUT’s Sustainability Labs came from a deep need to help 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’s 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 6 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 $3,000 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’ll also bring together both NW artists and international 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’s the Lab for? 

US 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 1 significant project completed in at least 2 disciplines or mediums. If the applicant has completed a project and is in significant development in a new medium, form, or format, they’ll be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

The Labs take place in 3 sections: 

  1. One-week intensive with professional mentors, coaches, and guest presenters to isolate professional needs, set goals, and strategize a sustainable path forward
  2. Personal check-ins with a life coach to track progress and make adjustments as necessary
  3. Presentation at a Portland event and/or pitching a project to a select group of professionals

Do I need an active project to focus on? 
Unlike other labs that focus on project-based development, this Lab is for career, creative, and personal development. We’ll 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. They’ll establish 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? 
2025 Labs applications will open December 2024. 

How much does it cost? 
There’s an administrative $35 application fee. Please reach out if the cost is a barrier to your participation.

For questions, to request the application in a different format, or accessibility questions, please contact Ben Popp, Head of Artist Services –

PAM CUT screened 2021 Sustainability Labs fellow Angela Washko’s film Workhorse Queen recently as part of a documentary series. “Sustainability Labs for me was nothing short of incredible,” she said in an interview with Willamette Week. “There were actual tangible results from that lab, which I can’t say is always true for every professional development workshop I’ve participated in.”

Pink movie poster for "Workhorse Queen," featuring an illustrated portrait of drag queen Mrs. Kasha Davis with cat-eye eyeglasses and surrounded by roses.

Sustainability Lab Fellows

The Sustainability Labs are made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and generous contributions from Joan Cirillo and Roger Cooke, the Reil Foundation for Arts and Creativity, and the King Family Foundation.