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, July 8, 2010


This week was the start of our Summer Program, MLAB RADIO!!! We are working at five Say Yes to Education Sites during the course of the four week Say Yes to Education Syracuse Summer Camp!

What is MLAB Radio!?
MLAB RADIO! is the MLAB Summer 2010 program developed for the Say Yes to Education Summer Camp by MLAB Coordinator/Artist, Jessica Posner, and Performance Artist/ Potato Rapper Michael Heagerty (AKA ToTs). Both Jessica and Michael will be on the MLAB every day making MLAB Radio a huge success!

What schools will MLAB Radio! visit?
This summer, we will be visiting Elmwood, Blodgett, Seymour, Porter, and Frazer.

How does MLAB Radio! work?
MLAB Radio will spend three days at each school, during which students will participate in intensive workshops in which they will write hip hop/poetry/songs, develop performance alter egos as individuals and as groups (which they will document through photography), and record original songs on the MLAB. Mike and and Jessica will then produce all of the tracks and images from the summer into a MLAB/SAY YES 2010 compilation cd and package-- all of which will be available online too!

What will happen, specifically, during the three day workshops?
On day one, we will give students an intro to the MLAB and a special (surprise!) performance by ToTs (Mike's Potato-loving performance alter ego). Students will then write about their favorite things to mine material for their songs. On day two,  students will make both a group and individual M-LAB M-LIB (a mad-lib style writing exercise) to further develop their alter egos and provide more material for their songs.

On days two and three, students will work in groups both on and off the MLAB. On the MLAB, student work in small groups to learn the science behind audio, and to perform and record songs based on both their written and improvised material. Off the MLAB, students work in pairs and small groups using digital cameras to take thoughtful portraits of their performance alter-egos and groups.

What happens at the end of the session?
By the end of each session, we will have all the raw material we need to create original tracks featuring the words, voices, and beats of our students. Additionally, Mike and Jessica will curate student artwork into an MLAB RADIO! multimedia package. Jessica and Mike will produce all raw material into one polished package, which will be available online and in limited hard copy quantities at the end of the summer.

How do I find out more information?
Stay tuned for frequent updates, we will be updating this blog frequently!
You can also be our fan on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter
Also, you can always email Jessica (the MLAB Coordinator) at

Will you be updating with photos, videos, and more?
Of course!

How do I participate in MLAB Radio!?
The best way to participate in MLAB Radio! is to stay tuned to our blog, join our facebook page, and follow us on twitter! Additionally, MLAB works with many educational and cultural institutions within Syracuse, as well as makes public appearances in Syracuse and beyond. Stay tuned for updates of our appearances!

How do I contact MLAB?
Please email Jessica Posner, the MLAB Coordinator at

More to come soon!

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