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Arts collective co-directed by IU Northwest professor earns nearly $1.3 million grant

Funds from the Mellon Foundation to support future monuments by Chicago-based Floating Museum

Arts Feb 28, 2024
A male faculty member smiling while sitting outside with the sun on his face.
IU Northwest School of Arts Associate Professor, Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford.

GARY, Ind. — Chicago-based arts collective Floating Museum, co-directed by Indiana University Northwest School of Arts Associate Professor Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, recently secured a $1,296,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Hulsebos-Spofford said the grant will help support new works in the collective’s inflatable monument series, Floating Monuments, which highlights the under-told narratives about communities that make up Chicago’s past and present.

Floating Museum currently employs two students and a graduate from IU Northwest. The grant will fund two to three additional positions — studio assistants and docents — available for fine arts students in the Chicagoland/Northwest Indiana area to apply for starting in the fall of 2024.

“I’m really hoping to give students in the field experience, expanding from the things they’re doing in the classroom, so they can see what the field looks like both in theory and in practice,” Hulsebos-Spofford said.

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“Being able to make connections and bring students into our network is really important for me, as a professor,” Hulsebos-Spofford said. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities come to me just through mentors and friends just putting in a good word for me. I’m excited to do that, as well.”

Floating Museum recently curated the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB 5), where multiple IU Northwest students assisted with the fabrication and installation of some of its projects. Floating Monuments has had several monuments featured throughout the city, such as ”Founders” (2019-present), which honors the often-overlooked roles indigenous people and people of color have had in shaping Chicago, “Garden” (2022-present), which highlights the role plants serve as world makers and the relationship between diasporic movements of people and plants and more.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at

IU 2030: Transformative Research and Creativity 

IU Northwest will engage in high-impact research and creative activity, advance knowledge, and improve the lives of people in Indiana and beyond.

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