Mobile Literacy Arts Bus

MLAB began with the purchase of a 1984 American Eagle RV. With a total of $30k from two grants, my yearlong class of nine students gutted, renovated and then programmed this used RV into a mobile digital lab, poetry library and community gallery to offer arts education to city schools. With one set of cameras, a set of art and poetry books and two graduate student teachers, the re-furbished MLAB travelled to 12 city schools a year – over the next three years offering art and creative writing programs to elementary, middle and high school students.

MLAB created a liminal zone – a new geography – attached to but outside of the school building. It was a threshold space that moved from place to place sharing a set of resources, where new creative experiences were triggered by the fact of being both within/and outside of the traditional school classroom. As a design model I adapted the artists collective Group Materials idea of “everyone does everything.” The assembly line production of the scrap floor exemplified this concept. We created a open transformable classroom space where students were able to perch at different heights on stools that also became countertops using drawing boards that reversed as cushion seating.

Read even more about our history and past adventures on our archive blog here.