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 7, 2008

light [at the end of the tunnel]

Lighting update: after a couple of impromptu meetings this week, here is the quick run-thro of what has been decided . . .

1) the light switch will be located in the cabinet.

2) there will be NO cove/ambient/atmospheric lighting from the walls. This means none of the light fixtures will be located in the 6” recess above the wall panels. I know this was our initial design response. We even designed the wall panels with this lighting in mind. However, we did some testing and result has been unsatisfactory. A couple of the problems we ran into included but were not limited to . . . the fixture didn’t fit in the space provided, not enough light was given off, risk of breaking bulbs, difficulty of installing, or made the bus look like a fishbowl.

3) INSTEAD, all the lighting will be mounted from the ceiling. Keeping with the look of the “raw” exposed bulbs of the work lights now in the bus, we’ve decided to mount standard sockets to the ceiling and place shallow 40 watt bulbs in random clusters across the plane of the ceiling.

4) When finished, the ceiling will become a playful arrangement of point lights. Wherever a standard socket is installed, a 2” diameter hole will be drilled in the matching plexi ceiling panel. This will allow the bulb to drop about ¾” below the ceiling plane. (reducing risk of heat, adding depth and dimension to the ceiling). I’ve posted a few images to help explain.

5) The advantages . . . more and better light, easy installation, easily customized by client.

6) Areas for further design . . . dimmer switch? Create two or more sets of lights? (ex: both sets turned on for classes, one set can be turned off for digital presentations, other set turned on for gallery shows)

here is a quick run through of the next few steps . . .

1) Figure out “exactly” how the standard sockets will attached to the ceilings. No one has really talked about this yet. I have a couple ideas. More would be a help.

2) Recieve drawing of ceiling panel layout from Vince and Yun.

3) Purchase all the bulbs, sockets, wires, etc. we need to start working. I’m planning on stopping by Ed Joy Friday to pick up fifteen 40 watt bulbs and fifteen 40 standard sockets. (and to return the florescent t5 bulbs) Still need to purchase wires, etc. David, do you know what else we need? Are you planning on buying some of it?

4) 9 am Saturday. Get started on installation and purchase what else we might need for lighting. Nicollette, David and I will be at the bus at 9 am on Saturday.

That’s it for now. Big thanks for everyone’s help.

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