Image Credit: David Matorin

For more than a decade, Light Work’s Urban Video Project (UVP) has sponsored an annual invitation-based commission. This year, Light Work has opened our UVP commission to applications for the first time and also created a new commission program specifically for regional artists living within a 50-mile radius of Syracuse. This extends Light Work’s core mission to support emerging and under-represented artists with a focus on service to our community. 

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Ithaca-based multimedia artist Paulina Velázquez Solís as the recipient of our first open UVP Regional Commission competition for her proposal entitled Un río de todas las épocas II / A river of all ages II. This project, which will include interactive and performance-based elements, will explore Central New York as a site of “post-industrial natural wonder”. Using regionally extinct species in local herbaria as tools, Velázquez Solís’ work will meditate on the “tension between what prevails and what has shifted or disappeared” in a field of “memory, transformation, and territory”.

Velázquez Solís’ commissioned work will be on view at the UVP architectural projection on the north facade of the Everson Museum of Art in Summer 2024. The artist will receive $3,500 as well as in-kind support from Light Work for the creation of this new work.

Velázquez Solís’ proposal was selected from a field of strong applications by a jury comprising Tara Merenda Nelson, Director of Public Programs at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, and Cjala Surratt, public relations and outreach professional and co-founder of Syracuse-based organizations the Black Leadership Coalition and Black Artist Collective. Anneka Herre, UVP Program Director, also participated in the jury. 

Our newly opened UVP Residential Commission, a residency-based commission open to artists from around the world which includes $10,000 in direct financial support and a month-long period of residence at Light Work, is still open for application and will close on January 9, 2024. For more information, visit www.lightwork.org/uvp-commission/


Paulina Velázquez Solís (she/her) is a multimedia artist from Latinoamerica with an interest in the oddities hidden within nature and the body. She was born in Puebla, Mexico and grew up between Mexico and Costa Rica, where she went to art school. She works in diverse media, including installation, sculpture, drawing, animation, and multimedia performance. 

She graduated in Art and Visual Communication in Printmaking at Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica and obtained an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute as a Fulbright Scholar. She moved to Ithaca, NY in 2018 where she is currently faculty at the Art Department at Cornell University and Ithaca College. Her work has been shown around the world, including at the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, TEOR/éTica in Costa Rica, Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan, ExTeresa Arte Actual in México City, Museo de Arte in San Salvador, Torino Contemporanea in Italy, La Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba, Mengi in Reykjavik, Iceland, Museum of the Americas in Washington DC, UCLA Biennial in Los Ángeles, and the Berkeley Art Museum in the San Francisco Bay area. For more info: multifungi.com


Tara Merenda Nelson is a filmmaker, curator, programmer and lecturer working between material, conceptual and perceptual realms with small gauge film and digital media. Her films, videos and installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art (NY and Miami), Mono No Aware (Brooklyn), The 8Fest (Canada), VideoEx (Switzerland) and the Sydney Underground Film Festival (AUS). She has taught digital media and film production courses at Montserrat, Ithaca College, Cornell University, University of Rochester and SUNY Brockport. Currently she is the Curator and Director of Public Programs at Visual Studies Workshop, where she teaches 16mm film production and oversees a collection of over 10,000 16mm films and magnetic media titles. She is also the Programmer for the VSW Salon series. She holds an MFA in Film/Video from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Cjala Surratt advocates for equity and restorative justice in the arts through socially engaged practices, site-specific projects, and public interventions. Her art advocacy emphasizes amplifying the work of historically excluded artists, cultural workers, and creatives. An alumna of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, she brings 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing, and community outreach for arts, culture, and social justice organizations. Surratt previously served as Public Relations Director at The Redhouse Arts Center, Marketing Director at the Community Folk Art Center, and as Communications Coordinator for Light Work and Urban Video Project.

Actively serving on multiple boards and committees, including the CNY Foundation: Black Equity and Excellence Fund Review Committee, Everson Museum of Art Members’ Board, Racial and Equity Task Force, Arts NYS Commission, Gifford Foundation Board, and Community Folk Art Center Advisory Board, Surratt co-founded the Black Leadership Coalition and Black Artist Collective. Both initiatives prioritize the concerns of Black and Brown communities in politics, arts, and cultural spaces. Surratt’s dedication to social justice was recognized in 2021 when she received the Interfaith Works: Racial Justice Catalyst Award.

Anneka Herre is a curator, arts administrator and educator based in Syracuse, New York. She is the Program Director of Light Work‘s Urban Video Project (UVP), which publicly presents time-based and electronic media through architectural projections and events. She has served on several committees, including serving a three-year term on the New York State Council on the Arts Electronic Media and Film peer review committee and the Media Arts Assistance Fund artists’ grant review committee. She has taught in Film and Media Arts at Syracuse University since 2009 and has overseen Urban Video Project since 2010.


To request high-resolution images for press reproduction and interviews, contact Cali Banks, Light Work Communications Coordinator, at cali@lightwork.org.


Urban Video Project (UVP), an exhibition and event program of Light Work in partnership with the Everson Museum of Art and Onondaga County, includes a year-round architectural projection site dedicated to the public presentation of film, video and electronic arts. UVP is one of few projects in the United States dedicated to ongoing public projections and adds a new chapter to Central New York’s legacy as one of the birthplaces of video art, using cutting-edge technology to bring art of the highest caliber to Syracuse, New York.