The SHIFT art installation is a collaborative neighborhood initiative in Madison WI between the Regent Neighborhood Association (RNA), the Environmental Design Lab, and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. The art installation serves as a visual transition between the UW campus and the Regent neighborhood for the thousands of employees, students, and neighborhood residents who use the underpass. SHIFT aims to increase walkability, create a safe and inviting lighting system for the underpass, and improve the daily experience of commuters.
The project began when the city arts administrator Karin Wolf contacted Dr. Samuel Dennis. His students presented several concepts to the RNA Board in the winter of 2014. The winning design belonged to Julia Schilling: a three-dimensional mural that changes perspective as pedestrians or bicyclists pass by. The design shifts depending on the viewer’s direction and position, while LED lights create a feeling of warmth and humanity on the underpass walls.
Thanks to financial support from The City of Madison, the project was constructed in 2021.
Visit the City of Madison’s 2021 article detailing Schilling’s process, inspiration, and design of SHIFT.