Questions about Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program

As a moving image artist, can I apply? What type of equipment do you have for video editing?
Yes, we are open to image-based media of all kinds. We are primarily set up to host artists working in still photography, but for video editing we have both the Adobe Suite (After Effects, Audition, Media Encoder, Premiere) as well as the DaVinci Resolve suite.

I am differently abled. Can you accommodate special needs?
Yes. We will make every effort to accommodate special needs. 

What kind of work are you looking for? Can documentary photographers apply?
We are looking for artists working in photography and related media from diverse backgrounds as well as diverse approaches to photography, including art photography, documentary, photo-journalism, and others.

I’m in school now, but will graduate before the submission deadline. Can I still enter?
Yes. If you have a diploma in hand for the application deadline of July 1, you can apply.

I’m in a doctoral degree program. Am I eligible to enter?
We do not allow any currently active or pending students to apply. However, if you will finish your program before the application deadline of July 1, you are eligible.

I’m entering a degree-seeking program this fall, but am not currently enrolled in classes. Am I eligible to enter?
If you have been accepted into a degree program, you are not eligible to submit your work for consideration until you have graduated and have your degree in hand

Can I submit my work if I have a visa that allows me to live and work in the US, even though I am not a US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident?
Yes, the residency program is international.

Is my installation-based/found imagery/mixed media work eligible for consideration?
Yes! Any work that includes photo-related techniques as part of their process is eligible to apply. 

I’ll be 21 the day after the submission deadline. Can I still submit work?
All entrants must be 21 years of age by the submission deadline, but happy birthday, and we look forward to reviewing your work next year! 

I know this is a photography residency, but it’s such a great opportunity that I have to ask: Will you accept applications from painters/videographers/playwrights/sculptors/sound artists?
Any artist who uses photography or photo-based media as a component in their work is eligible to apply.

Do you accept applications from collaborative teams?
Yes, we do. Please indicate clearly on your application that you are a team. You will share your living and working space during the residency as well as your stipend.

Is July 1 a hard deadline? I know other organizations often extend these dates.
Our deadline is our deadline. At midnight on the evening of July 1, the application portal will close, so we highly recommend you do not wait until July 1 to start filling out the application.

I don’t have all my documents ready. Can I submit my application and email the remaining files after July 1?
No, you must submit your application by the deadline for us to consider it.

I don’t have any money. Can you waive the $10 Slideroom fee?
No, we cannot. Light Work does not get this fee, which goes directly to Slideroom for their service. Consider asking a friend.

Should I apply with images from the project I will work on while an AIR, or do you want completed projects only?
We advise you to submit a project for the panel to consider that best represents your work.  Successful applicants have sometimes submitted incomplete or in-progress projects and sometimes they submit completed older projects. Please submit what you feel is your strongest work.

I can’t/don’t want to apply through Slideroom. Can I email you an application?
No. We require all applications to come through Slideroom. 

Can I submit more than one body of work?
Yes, there is room for more than one body of work. You may submit up to 20 images files.

Can I enter with the same body of work I submitted in a previous year?
Yes. Our panel of judges sometimes changes, but familiarity with your practice is not a negative for the panelists.

Do my files have to be named a certain way?
All we ask is that you enter the title, dimensions, year, and a short description for each image you submit. What you call each image is up to you—we do not require that you label or title images a specific way.

How will you display the images for the panel of judges?
The judges will see the images projected, one by one, in the order that you submit them.

I work in diptychs, triptychs, or other multipleshow should I submit my images?
Please submit a diptych or triptych in one image file, so that judges can view all pieces of the work at once. 

Are the judges different every year?
The selection panel consists of several members of the staff and has sometimes included guest jurors. There is change over the years as the staff changes.

When will I hear about the results of the grant?
We announce and notify winners of the residency program by the end of the calendar year.

Do photographers retain exclusive rights to the work submitted to the grant?
Yes, absolutely! We may use the winning images on our website or social media for promotion, but we will never print or use them for profit, and you retain all rights to do whatever you want with your work. We reproduce photographs that artists donate to the Light Work Collection for educational purposes only. 

Can you tell me why I didn’t get the residency?
We have hundreds of applicants annually so we are unable to offer feedback on your work. However, Light Work staff travel often to portfolio review events across the country and are available for advice in that setting. 

Can I submit a work in progress?

Can I mail you a book or prints?
No. Please do not send anything in the mail. You should submit all materials through Slideroom.

Where is the AIR apartment?
The apartment is two short blocks from Light Work.

What exactly do you supply in the apartment? What do I need to bring?
The apartment is fully furnished and includes all linens, towels, and kitchen equipment. Everything except food. There are several grocery stores near the apartment. If you do not arrive with a car, we are happy to assist you in getting groceries.

Will I need a car?
No. Many artists fly into Syracuse and comfortably walk to and from Light Work and the apartment throughout the month. Taxi services such as Uber/Lyft are active in Syracuse, as well as car rental companies.

Can I choose the month I will attend?
We do our best to accommodate your schedule. But if your availability is limited or your project is season-specific, we advise you to mention that in your application.

Can I split the month up and come for two weeks at a time?
No, we cannot split up the residencies. The program is for artists who can commit to a full month-long residency.

Do you provide studio assistants?
No, we do not. Sometimes students and interns are available to assist with projects for a limited time, but we cannot promise you this. 

Can I have guests in the apartment?
No. You will be sharing a small, two bedroom apartment with another artist. There is limited space for entertaining and we ask that you limit any disturbances for the other artist.

Can I bring my partner, children, friends, or pets?
No. You will most likely be sharing a small, two bedroom apartment with another artist. There is no room at this time for additional people or pets.  

When do I get the stipend? Do you have limitations on how I can use the money? Do you pay travel expenses?
Upon arrival, artists receive a stipend of $5,000, which they may use in any way they see fit, including travel expenses, equipment, supplies, and printing costs. We do not place any limitations on how you use the stipend and we do not request receipts.

I need a specific piece of equipment for the project I will be working on. Do you have this?
You can find a detailed list of our equipment online at Before your arrival, you will be talking to the Lab Manager about all your needs and goals for the month.  You will discuss and plan how, when, and where to order supplies and equipment in advance of your residency.

Questions about Light Work Lab

When are you open?
Our current hours are posted here.

I am interested in a tour of Light Work and the Lab. How do I set that up?
You can come anytime during our open hours! Contact us by phone or email to set up a tour or learn about our space.

I don’t know much about Photoshop or printing, but I want to come in and do work. Can I do that?
For people who are new to photography, Light Work Lab offers many “session-style” classes to learn about making photographs and how to use the equipment in our space. We offer full-service printing and scanning as well.

I would like to come in to scan and print. How do I do that?
Our DIY lab and darkrooms are open for our members to use seven days a week. Membership includes an orientation session on how to use the equipment in the lab.

How do I become a member? How much does it cost?
See our membership page for all the info.

What should I bring if I’m coming to scan or print?
Bring lint-free gloves, your film and/or paper, an external hard drive, and a portfolio box or paper shipping tube.

Do I need to reserve any of the equipment if I want to use it?
Please call us to reserve a shooting time in our lighting studio or to reserve scanning equipment, the film developing darkroom, small format printers, or large format printers. The open-lab, darkroom, viewing walls, and lounge do not require reservations!

I don’t understand how my digital camera works. Can you help me figure it out?
We can usually troubleshoot on-the-fly questions pretty quickly. If you want to learn how to make the most of your camera from the ground up, you can register for one of our regularly held camera and studio sessions.

What consumables does the lab supply?
In the darkroom we have all the necessary chemistry for developing film and making silver prints as well as lab towels, pressurized air, and nitrile gloves. In the digital lab, computers have the latest imaging software, icc profiles for a vast array of papers, and temporary central network storage for transferring files between machines. We do not currently provide paper for DIY member use.

Can I keep my paper at Light Work?
You can! We have space for up to one roll for each member. Please note, if your membership expires for longer than 30 days, the Lab Manger may determine how the lab may use or dispose of this paper.  

Is the lab wheelchair accessible?
Both our darkroom and digital lab are wheelchair accessible. Our building, the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, is wheelchair accessible at its north-west entrance.

Where can I park?
Paid parking is available across from the Robert B. Menschel Media Center in the Comstock Ave. Garage (formerly Booth Garage). Street parking spots and meters are also available in the surrounding neighborhood. 

I want someone at Light Work to scan for me or make prints. Can you do that?
Yes! Our Digital Services Lab offers competitive prices for making museum quality scans and prints for clients locally, nationally, and world wide.

I have a strange or experimental printing project that I want to print at Light Work. Can you help me?
We have done many strange and experimental printing projects in the past. We print at all sorts of sizes on all kinds of materials. Contact us with the specifics of your project to see how we can help.

How do I know the color on my prints will be right?
We build all our own custom ICC profiles with 3000 patch sets. Our color management works very well indeed.

How big can I print at Light Work?
You can print up to 64” wide by unlimited length at Light Work!

I need museum-quality fine art printing for my project or show. Can Light Work do this?
Yes. We have master printmakers working here who have printed shows for galleries and museums all over the world. Please contact us to discuss your project.

Can I have my prints mounted at Light Work?
We do not offer mounting or framing services, but there are some great options in the city of Syracuse and in the wider region.