The AWTY skoolie bus is a cornerstone of the project. It makes it possible to create art on the road!
Many people are curious about the ins and outs of the bus. Layout, cost, the conversion process, all that’s packed inside. So here is a page specially devoted to the AWTY studio bus!
So whatcha got there in that bus?
The bus is a multi-functional, convertible space. This was the only way to make everything fit in 198 sq ft! The front room has a:
- Video and photo editing space / dinette / couch / single bed / storage for gear
- Couch / double bed / storage for art supplies and visiting artists’ personal items
- Kitchen with storage for food / cleaning supplies / art supplies / gear
- Bathroom with composting toilet and shower
The back room is a:
- Recording studio
- Portrait photography studio
- Multi-media workspace (painting, print-making, fiber arts, etc)
- Our bedroom with storage for instruments, clothes, personal items, and more gear!
A back garage space and side toolboxes hold the:
- Solar battery bank, solar generators, gas generator
- Folding dining room table, mural supplies, tools
- Baby grill, foldable picnic table (yes way!)
- Hoses, mural supplies, tools
- Peat moss (for the compositing toilet)
The bus conversion process
When we got the bus, it was a regular old school bus. Complete with seats and that ‘school bus’ smell.
We filmed just about every step of the bus conversion process! We are also writing a series of bus conversion tutorials to help others save some time and money. Check them out!
It’s important to understand that the conversion was NOT a two-person job. Friends and family, especially Jairo Vílchez, were key players here. We worked full-time for nine months on the bus, but it would have taken close to two years if we didn’t have help from family and friends.
The school bus conversion cost
Art We There Yet ONLY came to be because of all the people who came together to help us fund the bus. Here’s how the numbers break down:
Total Cost: $28,793
Raised Funds (Net): $21,127*
Personal Funds: $7,666
The total cost includes the cost of the bus itself, which was $6,500.
*Gross amount raised was $24,182.84. Processing fees and perk fulfillment cost $3,055.84, resulting in net $21,127.
The operating costs of the project? That’s a different story! See a breakdown of the operating costs here.
All things power
- Electrical: 120V powering lights and outlets. 12V powering the propane fridge control panel, fridge fan, range hood, water pump, and toilet fan.
- Propane: powering the fridge, gas range, space heater, and tankless water heater
- Solar: 500W (5x 100W panels) running to a 1100Wh solar generator expanded to three deep cycle batteries
- Backup Power: Powerhorse 3500 gas generator
What about the bus specs?
- 2001 International 3800, DT466E engine with an Allison transmission, runs on diesel
- The bus came from St. John’s School District, Jacksonville, Florida
- Purchased with 212,000 miles on the engine (nothing for a DT466)
- Fuel Mileage 7.5 mpg
- Rear axle max load 19,000 lbs, front axle max load 10,000 lbs. We are under on both.
So what IS a skoolie bus?
So this is an interesting thing. When we started the conversion, we had no idea how popular school bus conversions are becoming. Sometimes called ‘skoolie buses’, bus conversions have been a thing for a while.
But currently, they seem to be riding the popularity wave of the tiny house movement. Luckily for us, it meant there was lots of helpful info out there during the conversion!