Announcing the 2021 Light Work Artists-in-Residence

Each year, Light Work supports at least a dozen emerging and under-represented artists working in photography and related media with month-long residencies and a total of over $60,000 in support. In addition to being awarded an unrestricted stipend of $5,000, each artist receives access to technical and professional resources. While the COVID-19 pandemic has constrained our ability to physically host artists in Syracuse this coming year, Light Work has responded innovatively to offer that continued support in the form of remote residencies.

With great pleasure, Light Work announces the following 2021 Remote Artists-in-Residence: Liz Johnson Artur, Danielle Bowman, Sabiha Çimen, Steven Molina Contreras, Larry Cook, Jeremy Dennis, Odette England, Dionne Lee, Daniel Ramos, Aida Silvestri (in partnership with Autograph ABP), Marion Wilson, and Guanyu Xu. This diverse group of lens-based and multimedia artists represents the breadth of important and innovative work in the field today. We’re pleased to again partner with Autograph of London (U.K.) to support the residency of Aida Silvestri. This international arts organization’s sponsorship of one of our artists is the latest in a longstanding collaboration that dates from 1996. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly affect our global artist community, many of whose members are now facing unexpected loss of income and cancellation of exhibitions, grants, and residency opportunities. In response to this, Light Work has shifted our residency to a remote format that maintains the same level of robust and intentional artist-guided support. 

Citing the effects of the ongoing pandemic, Light Work’s director Shane Lavalette notes, “Canceling or postponing our support to emerging and under-represented artists is simply not an option—in fact, it’s even more essential that we are there for the photographic community right now. Instead, we are deeply committed to being the best international remote residency program for image-makers. In order to do so, we asked artists about the ways in which we can best support their practice during this difficult time, and as a staff we have come together to work to creatively reimagine how we can accomplish this from afar. Despite the geographic distance, we’re thrilled to be able to work closely with this incredible group of artists in 2021.”

The remote residency experience will support artists in developing their artistic practice from their home or designated studio space. In addition to the stipend, artists will benefit from technical, professional, and creative support, as well as the extraordinary freedom to determine their own residency’s shape and timing. Our AIR participants can use their month to pursue their projects: photographing, scanning, printing, editing for book projects, and working closely with our staff for feedback and conversation. Light Work staff will use the flexibility of virtual support to expand the artist’s networks through discussion groups and educational programming. A special edition of Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual presents the work of each Artist-in-Residence with an accompanying commissioned essay. Each Artist-in-Residence also makes a donation of their work that becomes a part of the Light Work Collection.

Launched in 1976, this competitive program now usually receives about 1,000 applications annually. Following an international call for submissions, Light Work selects twelve to fifteen artists and invites them to Syracuse for one month to pursue creative projects. To date, more than 500 artists have participated in the Light Work Artist-in-Residence Program, and many have gone on to achieve international acclaim. The artists who receive this distinction embody Light Work’s mission of providing direct artist support to emerging and under-represented artists working in photography and digital imaging.

We are pleased to announce the 2021 Light Work Artists-in-Residence!

Liz Johnson Artur

Danielle Bowman

Sabiha Çimen

Steven Molina Contreras

Larry Cook

Jeremy Dennis

Odette England

Dionne Lee

Daniel Ramos

Aida Silvestri (in partnership with Autograph ABP)

Marion Wilson

Guanyu Xu

See past Artists-in-Residence at
Applications are now open for 2022. Apply at