The Mobile Literacy Arts Bus (MLAB) is an artist-run, renovated recreational vehicle that exists as a flexible space open to community members’ proposals for alternative educational and cultural programming.

MLAB is the collaborative effort of the 2007-2008 Social Sculpture class at Syracuse University, comprised of 10 art and architecture students and lead by artist and Director of Community Initiatives in the Visual Arts of Syracuse University, Marion Wilson. Our mission was to transform a used, 1984 Recreational Vehicle Bus into a Mobile Literacy and Arts Bus for use by the Syracuse City School District and the greater Syracuse Community. MLAB serves as a physical manifestation of Syracuse University’s Scholarship in Action initiative, by pairing University resources with community needs in an attempt to address the staggering drop out rates in the Syracuse City School District High Schools. Through the School of Education at Syracuse University, incredible curricula that bridge photography, poetry and literacy currently exist within the public schools-- however due to a crisis of space, the schools don't always have the space or resources to house it. MLAB is this space. The bus serves as a mobile classroom, digital photo lab, gallery space, and community center. As a team, we did it all: demolition, design, and construction.

MLAB is made possible from the generous support of the School of Education at Syracuse University and Entitiative.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Week 2: Reflections- Jessica Posner

The past two weeks have been filled with much excitement and even more work. Thus far, we have gutted (with much help to Dave Clayton) the interior of the RV, developed architectural schematics for use in our future design and execution, gotten this blog going, read some enlightening articles, and recieved much needed and appreciated insight from experts. This week, Melanie Cohn of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York lent her expertise in community art to us by sharing some of her personal experiences and the work of other collaborative artists. Melanie also provided us some excellent advice on publicity, collaboration, and community art. In addition, we met with one of our Technical Advisors, Ron DeRutte, for the first time.

Over the past week, in addition to getting our publicity started, we've been developing scale models of the RV-- of both the architectural and sculptural sort. Sam addresses this in depth in her post. Stay tuned for images and discussion of the models in Week 3!

Personally, I've been pretty involved in getting blog set up-- and I'm very excited that now other members of the team will be able to update the blog from their own, personal accounts. Also, I invite anyone else that is interested in our project and process to participate through comments-- we really appreciate any and all feedback! And though we've gotten quite alot done in the past weeks, we've still got plenty mountains to move and balls to get rolling-- and I can't wait to get started.

-Jessica Posner

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