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.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Social Sculpture students write about MLAB project

Social Sculpture Student Quotes

"learning from classmates, working as a creative team, building not
just a bus, but a relationship between society and people is what i
see this class is about. And, it's what i think art should be
about".---YunPei Hsiung, CVPA 09

“We are realizing the rhetoric of innovative community action that is inseparable from institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately, I don't think that this is done enough, which makes what we are doing really special. We have identified a community need, and through teamwork, creativity, and hard work, we are not only going to create a beautiful and monumental living piece of artwork, but a functional space that will benefit our community and most importantly, our community of tomorrow.” -Jessica Posner Newhouse & CVPA, 08

"There is this mythic and often elusive ideal of interdisciplinary design in the various colleges, especially the design schools, at Syracuse University and we are now part of the model for how collaborative cross-discipline design can work in real time with a real project, alleviating very real problems for people in our community. What makes this project so big is that the fundamental need for space in schools and a more effective program for teaching linguistic literacy is not unique to our community here in Syracuse; but we are working on a prototype that is going to be reproducible across the country." -Vincent Appel MLab, SOA, 08

“This class is about stepping outside of the me- based realm of studio practice into the us/he/she/they/we space of a collaborative community project, where instead of an abstract notion of ‘audience,’ we have a very tangible group of people who we must consider, engage, and sustain on a number of levels.” -Samantha Harmon, CVPA, sculpture major, 09

"The beauty of the m-lab project is that through a collaborative design process we can directly address the issues outside our college classroom, but within our own community."
Julia Dalton, SOA 08

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