Light Work to Dedicate Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery

To honor a longtime supporter of the arts in Syracuse, Light Work will name its main gallery space for Kathleen O. Ellis. The ceremony and celebration will be held on Tuesday, May 29, from 5-7 p.m. Jeffrey Hoone, executive director at Light Work, has worked with Syracuse University over the past few months to set up an endowment fund to support artist projects and exhibitions in the gallery, and in the process will be naming the gallery for his mother.

The naming of the Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery at Light Work will serve as a way to honor Ellis and preserve her legacy as a longtime supporter of the arts in Syracuse, and especially at Light Work. Since Hoone moved into a directorial role at Light Work in 1980, Ellis has supported him and the organization, where her attendance at openings and events is legendary. She has taken a personal interest in many artists at Light Work, and has invited several into her home for holidays and special events.

The dedication ceremony and event will feature a statement by SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who has championed the arts at SU. “This is such a fitting tribute to Kay Ellis, one of Light Work’s most dedicated and strongest supporters,” says Cantor. “Both professionally and personally, she has devoted herself to cultivating the arts in Central New York through her work across the public, private and nonprofit sectors. In a sense, Kay personifies Syracuse’s characteristically passionate, enduring embrace of the arts and their critical and evolving role in our community’s cultural and economic vitality. We’re proud to call Kay one of SU’s own, and profoundly grateful to her and all of those who have supported dedicating this gallery to her.”

During Hoone’s tenure in a directorial role at Light Work, the organization has seen significant advancements in programming, substantial growth in size from two to eight full-time staff members and a multi-million-dollar renovation of the facility. He embarked on the creation of this endowment fund as a way to pay tribute to his mother and make a lasting mark on Light Work by supporting its growth into the future.

Ellis attended SU, and as a member of the class of 1955, she majored in journalism and marketing. She is retired from the staff of Sen. John A. DeFrancisco of the New York State Senate. She formerly worked in the New York State Assembly and as a reporter and feature writer for the Syracuse Post-Standard for seven years in the 1970s. Now a volunteer in several organizations, Ellis is active in the CNY Irish American Cultural Institute, the Central New York Irish Cultural Society, the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade, the Syracuse Irish Festival and the CNY Kidney Foundation. Ellis has a keen interest in all of the art galleries at Syracuse University and a love of Syracuse Stage and the SU drama department, and the Everson Museum of Art.

The dedication event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in Marion Lot. For more information, contact Jessica Reed at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or

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