Light Work

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Light Work
Light Work Logo.png
Formation 1973; 44 years ago (1973)
Founder Phil Block and Tom Bryan
Type Photography center
Headquarters Syracuse University
  • Syracuse, New York
Leader Jeffrey Hoone

Light Work is a photography center in Syracuse, New York. The artist-run nonprofit supports photographers through a community-access digital lab facility, residencies, exhibitions, and publications.


The organization is housed at Syracuse University in the Robert B. Menschel Media Center. Founding directors Phil Block and Tom Bryan established it in 1973 and Jeffrey Hoone has led Light Work since 1982.[1] Its programs are supported by National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts; Robert and Joyce Menschel; Vital Projects Fund, Inc.; Syracuse University; Central New York Community Foundation; Joy of Giving Something, Inc., as well as by local subscribers.

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 others are collaborative partners of the center.

Artists-in-residence program[edit]

Light Work annually invites a dozen or more artists to Syracuse to work on new projects. Residency includes a stipend, a furnished apartment, staff support, and access to its facilities.[2] New work by artists-in-residence is published in a special edition of the center's magazine, Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual, including an essay commissioned by Light Work. Work by former artists-in-residence is also part of the Light Work collection. To date, more than 360 artists have participated in the program.

Light Work Lab[edit]

The Lab offers members technical assistance through a digital lab with DIY printing and scanning equipment, a digital service lab, private studios, black-and-white darkrooms, a lighting studio, and a library.

It also runs workshops and classes covering darkroom and technical foundations of photography to digital workflow and practical professional development.


Since its inception Light Work has presented over 400 exhibitions. Four are curated annually in its Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery. Other venues include Light Work’s Hallway Gallery, the Community Darkrooms Gallery, and the Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery. Light Work regularly collaborates with the Urban Video Project (UVP), the Everson Museum of Art, and other organizations and galleries in Syracuse. Satellite exhibitions are occasionally held at the Palitz Gallery at the Syracuse University Lubin House in New York City.[3]

Urban Video Project[edit]

The Urban Video Project (UVP) is a multi-media public art initiative of Light Work and Syracuse University with technology provided by Time Warner Cable. Its mission is to present exhibitions and projects that celebrate the arts and culture of Syracuse, where UVP operates one permanent exhibition site and one mobile projection unit along the city's Connective Corridor. UVP Everson projects an image near the size of an IMAX screen above the sculpture plaza of the Everson Museum of Art.[4]


The Light Work Collection holds over 3,500 photographs and art objects.

Artists-in-residence such as Cindy Sherman, John Gossage, Sunil Gupta, and others, are represented with early work that was made during the time of their Light Work residency.


Contact Sheet covers the latest work by emerging and mid-career artists from around the world. Its five issues each year are designed and printed in the tradition of fine art photography monographs and are advertisement-free. Many important photographers have been included in the early stages of their careers, including Andres Serrano, Carrie Mae Weems, Hank Willis Thomas, and others.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°02′41″N 76°08′49″W / 43.044732°N 76.146848°W / 43.044732; -76.146848