The Shaft is a mobile gallery founded and conceived as a work of art with the mission of drawing attention to issues of art world access through audience participation and engagement. The Shaft’s goal is to re-define the conventions of curatorial and artistic practice by precariously occupying border-less, creative territories.
During its first residency as an unauthorized rent-free gallery located in the elevator shaft of a former Philadelphia factory and arts warehouse, the Shaft acted as gallery directors/artist curators to host interactive, social engagements and provocations while vertically traveling to deliver passengers to “legitimate” galleries in the building.
In the summer of 2012, the Shaft performed as curatorial teachers-in-residence at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Contextualizing the gallery as an exhibition entitled Intensive Six-Week Curatorial Training School for Artists, the Shaft introduced curatorial practice to students who, as part of their hands-on curriculum, erected and curated two open-air galleries without walls for a series of non-object based, participatory exhibitions.
In October 2012 the Shaft delivered a paper entitled "The Shaft: A Precarious Occupation" as part the Medium of Exchange panel at the Southeastern College Art Conference in Durham, NC.
In 2013 the Shaft will be a visiting artist in residence at Cannonball (formerly LegalArt) in Miami, FL. Over the course of two months the Shaft, and its video news arm Shaft Vision, will work with community members to produce programming for a weekly, half hour web-based video news program that will involve local artists, students, scholars, residents, and visitors.
The SHAFT is founded, directed, and curated by Maiza Hixson and Lauren Ruth.