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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Last Week, several members of the MLAB Team (Jessica, Vince, Zach, and Samantha) accompanied Marion to MassArt in Boston for a lecture and workshop with SIM (Studio for Interrelated Media) students. We were invited by Kianga Ford, whom we met as the Artist in Residence at the Warehouse Gallery in Syracuse, New York. In addition to the Thursday lecture and the Friday workshop, we also put up a show of Marion's work and images and ephemera from MLAB in the Godine Family Gallery. On behalf of the whole team, I'd like to express our sincerest gratitude to Kianga, Allie and Evan (student curators), and the rest of the SIM area for making our trip welcoming, engaging, and an overall incredible experience. Thank you. We look forward to working with SIM and MassART again in the (hopefully near) future.

Following are some images from the show, lecture, and Friday morning workshop class. During the class, SIM students worked collaboratively to spacialize social issues/problems within the Boston community using architectural chalk lines. Students addressed such issues as dark pathways in parks, stray cats, noise pollution, and access to information and technology.

The Audience!

Zach at the Lectern.

Jessica and Marion hang the Show.

SIMers check out the MLAB wall of images and ephemera.

MLAB wall.

MLAB friends discuss near Marion's work.

Sam and Marion in the installation view.

MLAB @ MassART: workshop images

Zach and Vince with Kianga Ford's SIM class.

Marion (Left) and Kianga (center, in earthy sweater/turtleneck) with the SIM class.

Board of Social Issues and Skill Sets

Terms that are both psychological and physical.

Zach and Vince giving architecturally colored feedback.

Student project dealing with access to information, modularity, convergence, etc.

Student Project addressing dark pathways in the Fens.

Noise Pollution solutions?

Stray Cats.