The Portland Art Museum and PAM CUT // Center for an Untold Tomorrow, are thrilled to announced the Tomorrow Theater at 3530 SE Division Street in Portland. Opening in late fall 2023, the Tomorrow Theater will offer robust, participatory programming, serving as a model, both locally and globally, for the future of media arts and cinema. The space will function as a creative hub for artists and audiences not content to be contained to a single medium or art form.
Located in the heart of Southeast Portland, the Tomorrow Theater will devote its nearly 9,000 square feet to the celebration and expansion of cinematic storytelling and new media, in a community becoming increasingly recognized as an eclectic artistic and cultural hub. By offering even more opportunities for the public to connect with media arts, the theater reflects the PAM CUT ethos to reimagine for whom, by whom, and how cinematic stories are told and connect with new audiences in fresh ways. Through screenings, exhibitions, performances, and interactive programs, the Tomorrow Theater will further PAM CUT’s mission to advance media arts in all its forms.
Each evening will bring something different, through a variety show approach that incorporates at least two distinct art forms simultaneously. Embracing cinematic storytelling in all its forms – from film and series to animation and gaming, plus XR, performance, and audio stories too – the events and happenings will be as varied as the artists and audiences colliding on any given night. The Tomorrow Theater will showcase a broad range of mixed media arts that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the state, closely developed with artists and partners based in the Pacific Northwest and from around the world.
The full programming slate and partnerships will be announced this fall, with SPRING/BREAK Art Show kicking off the theater’s opening in partnership with PAM CUT for a multi-media art takeover. SPRING/BREAK Art Show is an internationally recognized exhibition platform founded in New York that activates underused, atypical, and historic exhibition spaces to challenge the traditional cultural landscape through group shows with artists of all mediums.
“Cinematic storytelling, like artists and audiences, comes in all varieties and flavors. With the Tomorrow, we’re building a home for cultural snackers, a space where when people walk through this door, they will never quite know exactly what Tomorrow brings,” said PAM CUT Director Amy Dotson. “As a home to a multi-media feast of creators, content, and audiences who are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, we are firmly committed to mixing it up. By creating a space where artists collaborate across disciplines, audiences co-mingle and are exposed to a variety of art and media stories folks; they will never have the same experience twice.”
History and reimagination
Originally imagined as architect Isaac Geller’s 1925 vaudeville theater, the space has lived many lives in many eras, from its vaudeville origins to hosting art house and Spanish-language films, to its most recent iteration as the X-rated movie house the Oregon Theater. With deep storytelling roots and nearly a century of Portland history, the venue itself is a kindred spirit to the vision for the Tomorrow Theater.
Andee Hess and Makrai Crecelius, of Portland-based and female-owned interior design studio Osmose, designed the theater. Known for their wildly imaginative and unique projects, their work has been featured in The New York Times and Architectural Digest as the creative forces behind spaces as varied as Salt & Straw ice cream shops and Fred Armisen’s goth-inspired house. The project was developed by Guerrilla Development in concert with PAM CUT and the design team.
The food program will be led by well-known Portland chef, Leather Storrs (former chef-owner of Noble Rot), who recently also opened The Mahonian, an event space and private dining venue. His playful approach to food and beverage will drive menus that will change according to themes, artists and vibes of the featured screenings, events, and experiences.
The partnership is part of ChefStable group, whose portfolio of projects includes James Beard Award winning OX Restaurant, Voysey, helmed by legendary bartender Katie Stipe, KEX Hotel which houses Pacific Standard—Jeffrey Morganthaler’s newest project, acclaimed Restaurant St. Jack, along with numerous other hot spots and event spaces in Portland and Northwest.
PAM CUT Tomorrow Theater creative program advisors include: Savina Neirotti (Venice Biennale Cinema), Liz Mowe (Kickstarter), Thomas Gewecke (Former Chief Digital Officer, Warner Bros), Aimee Lynn Barneberg & Nico Fearn (Nike), Producer David Cress (Portlandia), Rosemary Colliver (ShadowMachine, PAM CUT Co-Chairwoman), Tim Williams (Oregon Film), Chloe Mason (model & actress), Shelby Rachleff (Westridge Foundation), Julie La’Bassiere (Publicity & Awards Strategist, AppleTV+), René Pinnell (Founder, Artizen), Byron Beck (journalist & media personality), and Patty Brebner (Opinionated), as well as PAM Board Chairwoman Alix Meier Goodman and PAM CUT Co-Chairwoman Mary Blair.
Facilities and programming
PAM CUT has consulted with Full Aperture, a premiere cinema tech company that works with Sundance and Telluride Film Festivals, and museums throughout the country, on modern, flexible approaches to venue and experience. The Tomorrow Theater features:
- 8,744 sq. ft. with up to 300 seats designed with modular fixtures to encourage maximum flexibility.
- A fully digital event and experience, powered by the ticketing and theater experience company FilmBot.
- Accessible amenities such as gender-neutral restrooms, prime seating for guests with disabilities, and more.
The Tomorrow Theater will occupy many roles, functioning as:
- A creative space. Programming will go beyond film and emphasize intersectionality across art forms, with each night a unique experience designed for the culturally curious. The space will host international cross-media performances, screenings, exhibitions, immersive theater, game nights, workshops, and more.
- A community space. Along with new partner programs, the theater will host guest-curated programs, Museum partner programming, and quarterly local offerings and experiences by legendary Portland performers Izohnny to media artists in residence partners The Numberz FM.
- An event space. Many local and regional celebrations, events, and conferences have taken place over the decades at the Museum’s main campus downtown, and with The Tomorrow Theater, the Museum, and PAM CUT will have an east-side space for the community to gather.
“Portland Art Museum embraces art in all its many forms,” said Portland Art Museum Director Brian Ferriso. “As a museum, we value media arts storytelling as a fine art and want to ensure that we bring that to the community far and wide.”
Bringing the Tomorrow Theater to life is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Ritz Family Foundation, Travel Portland, Mary and Don Blair, and the Lamb Baldwin Foundation.
Portland Art Museum membership will include access and discounts on Tomorrow Theater programming and events.