CNY Arts, Inc.


Light Work presents Highlights from the Light Work Collection: Dawoud Bey

(SYRACUSE, NY March 11th, 2024) - Light Work Presents Highlights from the Light Work Collection: Dawoud Bey.

Curated from our collection, Light Work is pleased to present a selection from two of Dawoud Bey’s photographic projects: An American Project and Embracing Eatonville

Curated from our collection, Light Work is pleased to present a selection from two of Dawoud Bey’s photographic projects: An American Project and Embracing Eatonville.


Black-and-white images from An American Project, made in Syracuse in 1985 during his artist residency, chronicle the community and history of South Salina Street. These prints were recently gifted by Bey and Stephen Daiter Gallery to celebrate the dedication of the Jeffrey J.
Hoone Gallery. Embracing Eatonville was a photographic survey of Eatonville, FL—the oldest Black-incorporated town in the United States—that featured work by Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis, and was exhibited at Light Work in 2003. Bey
made color photographs of high school students combining their portraits with text sharing personal hopes, fears, and dreams.

“I was invited to do a residency at Light Work in 1985, after being introduced to the organization by my friends, photographers Michael Spano and Sy Rubin. Applying and being accepted has remained an important highlight of my career almost forty years later. It was the first time I was
also able to have the kind of absolute support that allowed me to have what is still one of my most productive months ever as an artist. That support was something that I’d never experienced before, and it allowed for a profound burst of creative activity, going out into the
Syracuse community every day to make photographs without the worry about how that investment of time would be remunerated.”

– Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey (born 1953) is an American photographer and educator renowned for his large-scale photographs including American adolescents in relation to their community, and other marginalized subjects. In 2017, Bey was the recipient of a “Genius Grant” from the John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Currently living in Chicago, Illinois, Bey is a professor of art and Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago, and is represented by Mary Boone Gallery (New York), Rena Bransten Gallery (San Francisco), and
Stephen Daiter Gallery (Chicago).

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

Find Light Work’s galleries in the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, 316 Waverly Ave., Syracuse, New York. Gallery hours are: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Light Work closes on all major holidays. Contact Light Work to schedule a guided tour of the galleries or the Light Work Lab. Follow Light Work on Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo. For general information, please visit, call (315) 443-1300, or email


Paid parking is available in the Comstock Ave Garage at the intersection of Comstock and Waverly Avenues, diagonally across the street from Light Work. There is also metered parking in front of the Syracuse University Library, on Walnut Avenue, and on Comstock Avenue across
from the Comstock Ave Garage. Light Work’s gallery and office and the Community Darkrooms facility are located on the main floor of the Robert B. Menschel Media Center. Visit for more information on parking and directions to the galleries.


Light Work is a non-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media, located in the Robert B. Menschel Media Center. Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours of the exhibitions and facility and to attend
gallery talks. Light Work thanks Syracuse University and Robert B. Menschel and Vital Projects, as well as the Andy Warhol Foundation, CNY Arts, the Central New York Community Foundation, JGS (Joy of Giving Something Inc.), the National Endowment for the Arts, the New
York State Council on the Arts, and the subscribers to Contact Sheet for their dedicated and ongoing support of our programs. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.