Selected by Open Call
Organized by Emily Hopkins/ Side Street Projects

Los Angeles is a sprawling expanse of a network of cities segregated by freeways where artists and arts organizations struggle with space and access. This is not a problem that is unique to L.A., but in our landscape, the lack of equitable access is amplified. As we become more connected digitally, communities can find themselves more isolated physically. Out of that challenge, artists and art organizations have come up with some incredible creative mobile solutions. This is a conversation led by a collection of groups who have used mobility as a way to deliver programs and projects to a diverse geographic population.

We hope to bring together a collection of organizations that use mobility and itinerant education as a way of uniting Angelinos! Side Street Projects has had a mobile woodworking program for 20 years because there is no shop or art class in schools. In 2006 they embraced mobility and put the entire organization on wheels. Even though Echo Park Film Center has had a “brick & mortar” storefront on Alvarado Street since 2001, they use two devices, the EPFC FIlmmobile (an outfitted eco-school bus) & the EPFC Filmcicle (an itinerant bicycle cinema), to provide film screenings and educational programming to marginalized communities. Miracle Bookmoble uses mobility to activate the redistribution of books. They started out in a volvo, and since have used a jeep, a scion, honda, bicycle or whatever is available. They have operated out of LA and Oakland, and are now working to set up satellite projects in other cities. Project Q gives over 700 free haircuts to queer homeless youth annually out of a renovated Airstream trailer. The trailer delivers programs locally, and also tours to other cities. Project Mobilivre-Bookmobile is a bilingual, art gallery and library on wheels that traveled across the USA and Canada in a retrofitted, Airstream with annual curated collections of artist books, zines and independent publications.

All of these projects creatively use mobility to increase access. This discussion will engage the knowledge of the participants to address pragmatic aspects, methodologies, and economies (both formal and informal) that are employed by mobile projects. Depending on the vehicle there are tangible pragmatic expenses and needs to make a mobile program sustainable that need to be taken into account. At the same time, mobile projects thrive on sharing economies, and have the potential to sustain outside of traditional capitalistic model of constant expansion. They are flexible and scalable. Mobility makes space for satellite projects, and shared models being syndicated in other cities outside of the autonomy of the original project. There is a temporality to mobile projects that require intentional pedagogical methods to work with communities rather than imposing on them. Inherent in that, mobile projects generally require strong partnerships and collaborations to be successful.

The intention of this dialogue is to discuss and share best practices and challenges of mobile projects with the goal of providing resources for those interested in utilizing mobility in their programs, while collectively developing new solutions to shared challenges.