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, November 5, 2007

Lights and HEAT!

Ahhhhh, M-LAB. We've made great progress this weekend on a number of tasks we set out for ourselves to accomplish and it feels good to be getting our hands dirty with hard work. Does anyone remember building circuits in their high school science classes? Well using those same basic principles of electricity, between David Harris and I (with a bit of help from Rosalyn on Saturday), we were able to completely rewire the RV to move the main electrical panel from the rear of the bus near the wheel well to a position just behind the driver's seat. We plan on looking at the 12 Volt electrical boxes in the coming days to decide what we want to do with them. And as our design becomes visibly constructed in the bus we will be figuring out the layout of the lighting and outlet systems in the bus.
Saturday was a pretty cold morning in Syracuse, since we're now into that season when the temperature drops and frost begins to accumulate on the windows. So, with that in mind after moving the main power source and hooking that up on our new panel we rigged up some temporary construction outlets and lighting. Which we immediately proceeded to plug a space heater into that I am sure we will all appreciate greatly as we log long hours in the RV over the upcoming cold months! Turning on that main power switch at the end of our workday Saturday we were relieved and happy to see our lights and heater start working, and it just felt so worth the effort!

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