Light Work

Syracuse, NY

Light Work was founded as an artist-run, non-profit organization in 1973. Its mission is to provide direct support to artists through residencies, publications, exhibitions, a community-access digital lab facility, and other related projects.

Light Work’s founding directors were Phil Block and Tom Bryan. The organization has been led by Jeffrey Hoone since 1982. Light Work is housed in the Robert B. Menschel Media Center at Syracuse University.

Light Work receives support for its programs from the New York State Council on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; JGS (Joy of Giving Something, Inc.); Robert and Joyce Menschel; Vital Projects Fund, Inc.; Syracuse University (SU); the Central New York Community Foundation, and our subscribers.

Collaborative partners have included Syracuse University’s Division of Student Affairs, Autograph ABP, the Community Folk Art Center, En Foco, the Everson Museum of Art, the Red House Art Center, the Urban Video Project (UVP), and more.

Artist-in-Residence Program

Over 400 artists from every state and over fifteen countries have been selected to participate in its renowned Artist-in-Residence Program. The program exemplifies Light Work’s primary goal of supporting artists.


Light Work has published over 190 issues of Contact Sheet, plus over fifty exhibition catalogues for the Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery and a number of special project books. Contact Sheet is one of the longest-running art photography publications in the world that has showcased contemporary photographers since 1977. It features artists who have participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence and exhibition programs. 


Light Work’s multiple galleries have featured over 400 exhibitions. Four exhibitions are curated for its main gallery, the Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery, every year and are each accompanied by an issue of Light Work’s publication, Contact Sheet. Other exhibition venues include Light Work’s Hallway Gallery, Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, and the Palitz Gallery at the Lubin House in New York City.

Light Work Grants

Since inception in 1975, over 100 artists have been awarded Light Work Grants in Photography. This program was established to encourage the creation of new work and scholarship in Central New York. Each year Light Work awards three grants of $3,000 to local photographers, critics, or photo-historians as a way to acknowledge and support local talent.

Light Work Collection

The Light Work Collection includes over 3,500 photographs and art objects. Most former Artists-in-Residence, such as Cindy Sherman, John Gossage, Sunil Gupta, and more, are represented with early work that was made during the time of their residency. All images in the collection can be viewed online. The collection adds to the artists’ visibility and is accessed especially by friends of photography, researchers, curators, collectors, educators, and students.

Light Work Lab

Over 25,000 artists, students, and patrons have used Light Work Lab — a state-of-the-art photo and digital lab — to make new work. The community-access facility is designed for intuitive use to create museum-quality art. Available equipment includes a high-end digital lab with large-format printers and Flextight scanners, a black-and-white lab, a lighting studio, and more.

Urban Video Project (UVP)

Urban Video Project (UVP) is an important international venue for the public presentation of video and electronic arts. It is one of the few projects in the United States dedicated to continuous and ongoing video art projections. UVP is a multimedia public art initiative of Light Work and Syracuse University along the Connective Corridor in Syracuse, NY.

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