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, March 26, 2009

MLAB: Nottingham High School, Syracuse New York

Hello All! And welcome back to the MLAB blog.

We have been very busy working on developing a future MLAB project, of which more information will be coming soon!

We are off to a great start at Nottingham High School this Spring Semester! We are working with two eleventh grade English classes, the students of Ms. Zizzi and Ms. Benedetto. The Nottingham High School students are working with the SU Literacy, Community, Photography class made up of creative writing and transmedia graduate and undergraduate students-- taught by photographer Stephen Mahan and Poet Michael Burkard.

The students are doing incredible work, and appear to be making themselves quite at home with the MLAB-- spreading out on our customized, break-away benches and using the custom made lap desks/cushions both as seats and writing surfaces. It is exciting to again see the space come alive with the energy and creativity of students transforming the walls and space in their creative process.

The first writing assignment was to write a self portrait in the absence of the self. Students explored points of view, personifying objects such as pencils and cameras. In photography, students also worked on self portraits. The work is off to a great start, and I truly look forward to seeing the work of these students develop over the semester!

Stay tuned for more updates and developments on MLAB at Nottingham and the new MLAB project: 601 Tully.

Attached are a few images from our first two visits!