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, April 9, 2015

MLAB from Maine to Miami

Hi everyone!

It's been awhile and we have some very exciting news to share. The Mobile Literacy Arts Bus is preparing to go back on the road and travel further than ever before.

We have been hard at work this past year planning for the next generation of  MLAB. So, here's the plan: we will be on tour from coastal rocky Maine to sandy Miami beginning in Summer of 2015. We will be partnering with local schools, galleries and museums along the way to offer communities free interdisciplinary art and ecology curriculum. MLAB’s Maine to Miami tour will serve as a working arts studio, laboratory, and a mobile classroom that will explore science, specifically site specific, indigenous plant life, alongside a serious study of life drawing and painting practices.

The tour is inspired by the work of MLAB's co-founder; artist Marion Wilson. Marion's artistic practice seeks to create bridges between art, ecology, neighborhood, and curriculum. Her work is marked by a delicate scientific inquiry, one that has led her on a several year long study of New York's native plant life which she has ingeniously represented through miniature sculptures, paintings, and drawings. MLAB's Maine to Miami is an effort to promote free arts education and catalyze collaborations and learning spaces for artists and high-need communities.  For more on Marion's work please visit

We will be using this blog to keep you updated on the fundraiser and the shape of our tour map. We will be writing to introduce you to partners and cities that we will be working with along the way.

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