The PAL project was founded by Stephen Mahan. A spirit and leader that most of us find once in a lifetime. His passion for social justice and education rise beyond the norm and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t miss him. Mahan passed last summer, but he left with us his spark and drive to continue and never give up. The PAL project must continue!


Photography and Literacy Project (PAL Project) is an innovative program positioned under Syracuse University’s Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC), that brings SU students into Syracuse City Schools to develop projects involving photography, video, audio recording and writing. The objective is to improve student’s writing and reading skills by linking these studies with photography, video and poetry. Using “Visual Thinking Strategies,” PAL Project also improves student’s critical thinking and media literacy skills. PAL Project provides students with an opportunity for expression through both a visual and narrative connection by linking the forms of digital media and writing.

In connecting image making with writing and critical thinking, PAL Project promotes an expansive use of digital media and creative writing across curricula and disciplines. PAL Project truly defines the meaning of Scholarship in Action. It exemplifies collaboration among university departments including Light Work, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Education, and the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers. Through PAL these University departments, in turn, collaborate with the Syracuse City School District to work with teachers and students on a sustained basis to teach them 21st-century life skills.

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