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, October 15, 2007

Several thoughts from Luna.

Visual update: the postcards that I picked up from the school look smashing. I'll add some photos in a bit. I have one more on the way, it was evidently stolen from the teacher's desk drawer for its creative pull. However, we're having a print made of it. Such artists!

On the homework/homefront: Will be calling about painting the bus & prices later today as I find the phone book or check online. As for the press packet, I'm having an excellent time brainstorming the possibilities. I have great quotes from the teachers involved on both the SU and Henniger sides. I also have photos from the last semester of work that I can include as "selected images". My cat is lying on the rest of my list, but I assure that it is sound and exciting. Had to move the cat anyways, the rest of the list includes referencing the Chancellor's speech that includes remarks about the Literacy through Photography program. She actually references the program in several but look for our Mikey in this one!

A Reflection of personal experience of public art and private life: First of all, I honestly believe that art should be a part of daily life. Too often art is put up on a pedestal, seen as something based on economic class standing etc, not something that serves a necessary purpose in society. Art is necessary. I am attracted to it because it makes me feel and my goal as an individual is to share this passion that I have for art with others. I've been reading Dewey's Art as Experience and he has it right; art is not solely the object, it is an interaction, an experience, a form of communication, between art as the object and the viewer. Sure this makes all things seem like art, but in some ways, aren't they?

My passion within the field is the role of the communicator, the megaphone that says "hey, look over here, there's a new gallery opening, its feaking awesome, you should come and see it." Its hard sometimes because people have different artistic experiences, my passion for one object is easily not shared by someone else. This makes the topic of public art a realm where not everybody is always satisfied and thats okay as long as people understand the role that art plays in society. A method of intense, semi-spiritual, personal enjoyment. A way of presenting social, political and other needs in an aesthetic manner. Human expression and communication within the visual field. That stuff shouldn't be bottled up under a private life heading. My goal is to breakdown this barrier and make art accessible to all. To encourage engagement within the arts, be it through education, creation, investment or other form of participation.

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