Request for Proposals
Alembic Resident Artist Program

Deadlines: Intent to apply March 11
Full Application, March 23, 2020
Residency Period: June 1, 2020-February 28, 2021

Alembic = apparatus used in alchemy or distilling. The word “alembic” is also used metaphorically for anything that refines or transmutes, as if by distillation (as in “the alembic of creative thought”). PWNW || LAD invites artists working in original and contemporary time-based performance, whose work engages a strong movement, body or dance-based component, to apply for year 8 of our Alembic Resident Artist Program. 


IMPORTANT: The studio research time, NOT the performance, is the core of the Alembic Residency. If you don’t need this time and space, or will have trouble using it, please do not apply. If you know you will be doing lots of traveling and/or foresee opportunities that will make it hard to use the studio time, please do not apply this year.

Three Portland-area artists or artist groups will receive 100 hours of studio time to be used between June 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021. The results of the residency will be presented in a weekend of work, at any stage of completion, in February 2021, with a minimum of fee $500 paid to each project. Depending on funding, there may be more!

We also provide funding for each artist to engage a mentor/dramaturg/outside eye of their choice to visit rehearsals, give feedback, engage in conversation, or help the process along in any way the two (artist and mentor) dream up. This person will receive a minimum honorarium of $300. We will have a short-list of possible folks if you need help deciding. During the course of the residency, the artists will share the results of their studio time with each other, the panel, mentors, and invited friends during two sessions, one in October, and one in early January.

Post Residency Perks: Each artist can continue to rehearse at PWNW for a discounted rate of $7/hour in the year following their residency. In addition, each artist is eligible to be considered for an evening-length-performance during the two years following their residency as part of PWNW’s Alembic Co-Production Series.

Our vision and goals for the residency:

With this opportunity, PWNW wants to make a significant difference in the lives of artists, creating conditions to make the acts of exploration and creation easier. Through the Alembic Residency, we support artistic investigations that are movement-based, but may incorporate other disciplines and collaborations, with a focus on experimentation. In each application cycle, there are many artists who would be able fulfill the criteria in their own individual ways. However, we can only choose three. Since one of our goals is to create the grounds for a lively confluence of diverse creative ideas, artistic and personal backgrounds, the selection of a fertile mix of artists and approaches is a part of the process.

We also wish to state that PWNW seeks to engage a more diverse and inclusive participant body and strives to recognize individuality and create equal opportunities for all, regardless of race, class, gender, ability, ethnicity, sexuality or age. The demographic survey that is part of the application is a tool we hope will help us evaluate our progress towards this goal.

If you’d like to see the gamut of previous Alembic Artists, check out this link.


  • You are based in the Portland metropolitan area.
  • Your work is rooted in movement and/or the body, though it may involve other disciplines.
  • You should not be enrolled in an academic program.
  • You need to realistically be able to take advantage of the 100 hours of rehearsal and have enough flexibility to meet with your fellow Alembic Artists for an introductory meeting/meal in May or June, 2020 plus 2 sessions to share what you are working on with your cohort and invited guests.
  • You need to be in Portland most of the residency period, including February 2021, available to perform or otherwise share results of your residency to the broader community.
  • Alembic Alums? If your residency began prior to 2015, you may apply again.


1- Click here to send an email by March 9, 2020 signaling your intention to apply.

This deadline has been extended to March 11!

Optional: In your email, suggest one or two panelists: Portland artists; arts writers; or curators of performance, visual or media arts. The ideal panelist is familiar with both your own work and the mission, values, and work of Performance Works NW.
2a- Preview and prepare answers to the APPLICATION QUESTIONS (see below)
2b- Use your answers to fill out our online application form.
3- Fill out our online demographic form*, also by the same deadline March 23. This information, kept anonymous, is used to evaluate the reach and access of our programs and in reporting to our funders.
*Please note: This information will NOT be made available to the Alembic Panel as a part of your application. The Panel will be provided anonymous aggregated data of the full applicant pool.


1. Your name, pronouns, and contact info including email, mailing address, phone and website if any.

2. Bio (up to 400 words)

3. Artist Statement: You and your process (up to 500 words–Please also look at the Criteria for Selection below when writing)

  • How does your work align or intersect with PWNW’s mission to advance experimentation in contemporary performance? Why is PWNW the place for YOU at this time in your life?
    • You might include any interest in the questioning of artistic form or content, hybridity, open-endedness, exploration, how your process addresses the unknown.
  • What are your personal and artistic goals and what are your goals for the residency period? You will be sharing your work in some form near the end of the residency, but it does not have to be a finished product.
    • Include any motivations, intentions, or inspirations that are a critical part of your artistic process as a whole or for the proposed residency.
    • Describe any concepts, materials, subjects, processes, structures, or questions central to your work.
    • How do you envision working with a mentor/advisor/dramaturg, and/or do you have someone in mind you would like to work with?

4. Work Sample + Info

Prepare 1 or 2 samples of a selection from a previous or in-progress work, 5-7 minutes total. It doesn’t necessarily have to be finished work, but can be a work-in-progress, or a video sketch of work in the studio.

No short clips as in promo reels. Please make sure each cut or section is at least 2 minutes continuous, not jumping around from high point to high point.

Due to the volume of applicants, we cannot guarantee that the panel will watch more than 2 minutes of your sample. So choose cue point(s) with that in mind. However, having a longer section available, in case the panel wants to view further, is a good idea!

YouTube or Vimeo links preferred–or possibly some other online platform. The work should as best as possible represent your current areas of investigation.

HINT– See how to link to a specific portion of your video:
         on YouTube     on Vimeo


  • Title
  • Year of Premiere + Year of Performance, if different
  • Credits, including your role in the production
  • Viewing points if needed – For example: “Please watch minutes 8-11 of this sample. Or use the above HINT to link to a specific starting point in a longer video.
  • Length of sample & length of complete piece, if an excerpt. Also where in the piece this was. For example: This excerpt begins 30 minutes into a 55 minute piece.
  • How does this video relate to or support anything you have written about in your Artist Statement?

Criteria for Selection: based on evidence from writing, work sample and knowledge by the panel of the artist’s work. 

  1. The artist’s work aligns with PWNW’s mission to advance experimentation in contemporary performance and media arts
  2. The artist demonstrates a keen investigative spirit and a self-aware intelligent questioning of her or his own process.
  3. The artist is specific about areas of exploration, concepts, starting points etc.—even if the form of a final product is not envisioned at this time.
  4. The time spent at PWNW has potential for significant impact on the growth and process of the artist.

In addition to the above Criteria, the panel will also consider the makeup of of the group as a whole, looking for a group that is heterogeneous in terms of qualities such as background, aesthetic approach, stage of artist’s career, etc.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com