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.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hello everyone! It's great to be back and we have certainly jumped right in to get back to work this week. I just wanted to update everyone on some of the things that have been going on. Zach, Vince and others can feel free to fill in the things I missed but, in the last week we have been able to move the circuit board for the electrical to it's new and permanent location in the cab of the RV. We will be working on designing an enclosure for that electrical panel in the coming weeks. Everything has been rewired accordingly and all of the electrical to the bus minus one outlet is now in working order! I also reinstalled the permanent heater/AC in the rear of the bus and got that working so that if we happen to see the snow fly (which I am sure we will!) we will be able to keep busy and warm at the same time. Other great news... our handicapped accessible ramp we ordered from Roll-A-Ramp has come in and Marion and I will be unpacking that and putting it together tomorrow morning. I am personally quite excited about that since it makes things feel like the holidays all over again!
Some other things going on include finishing framing on the door which was continued after a trip or two to our area hardware stores to find the metal pieces, snapping chalk lines on the bus floor to begin marking out the locations of the front storage cabinet, further installation of the lapdesk and storage system around the lower 24" of the bus, and of course more gluing together of the wooden floor boards (which we are hopefully nearing completion on!) Considering all that this week has become quite a valuable jumpstart to the upcoming semester and the completion of this project!

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