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 aims to redefine 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 summer 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 June 2013 the Shaft performed 19 nontraditional commitment ceremonies at the Koban Project in Baltimore, MD. In September 2013 the Shaft married visitors to higher levels of consciousness in the freight elevator of the Brooklyn Museum of Art as part of the Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure's nontraditional museum tour, Experiment #23b.
In October 2013 the Shaft was a visiting artist in residence at Cannonball in Miami, FL, where it hosted a Romantic Dinner for Thirty and a Total Wedding Package that involved a "fast fiances" meet and greet, premarital warm up workouts, couples counseling, and free weddings followed by a PORN NAIL$ nail salon and family planning dance.
The SHAFT is founded, directed, and curated by Maiza Hixson and Lauren Ruth.