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.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


The sub-ceiling (or super-ceiling) is 90% complete. The picture below shows only the panels in the center of bus. The sides are down at the moment for wiring.

Having the entire ceiling faced with ply will make arraying and dilling up the acrylic a quick and clean install. The Yun-Pei and Marion custom sanded panels are gorgeous. We were able to get a huge discount on scrap acrylics from Laird Plastics up by Carrier Circle. Only a day or two of work drawing, laser cutting and cleaning left to do before they go up.


Anonymous said...

the cool thing also was once we sat back and were looking at the beautiful ceiling mock-up - was to reflect as a group on how different our work processes are/were. We artists seem to work more intuitively and by sight and touch, the id designers need some overarching plan but the process remains tactile, and the architects don't seem to have the same need to "see and touch" in advance but rather can imagine it, throw it into CAD and then visualize when it is done. Very interesting and glad that we were able to appreciate our different work strategies. Of course this is generalizing and reflects the people present in our group.

Vincent Appel said...

yes, that was a notable moment in our process. Though, it was Zach and my idea to lay the pieces out and get a sense of the scale and color arrangement. Don't discredit our love for tactility just because we use CAD! :)