But this exhibition certainly isn’t Hulsebos-Spofford’s first time putting his art on display. He’s recently displayed artwork at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, as well as continued work with Floating Museum, a Chicago-based arts collective.
Another significant work from Hulsebos-Spofford and Floating Museum is "Founders." Hulsebos-Spofford said this inflatable sculpture was meant to serve as a counterpoint to whom society typically views as its founders.
“We were thinking about how to challenge the idea of monument, so we decided to make a collaborative monument to challenge the notion of ‘founding,’” he said. This public art piece is thanks to a collaboration between local museums and artists Chris Pappan (Kanza/Osage, Lakota) and Monica Rickert-Bolter (Potawatomi/African American/German) living in Chicago.
One of the main goals is to present critical work that challenges existing conventions,” he said.
While Hulsebos-Spofford is certainly active in the local and global art scene, he’s just as involved when it comes to teaching. “I really love teaching,” he said. “[It’s] an experiment in learning and building together, thinking about different sorts of content.”
Although we can think of the student-teacher dynamic as a one-way street, Hulsebos-Spofford takes the opposite approach. He describes his relationship with teaching as symbiotic—he imparts knowledge to his students, and in turn, those students push him to stay current on artistic trends.
Most of all, Hulsebos-Spofford is eager to share the countless benefits of an art-based education. “The critical thinking skills in regards to art-making and problem-solving are deeply applicable to almost any field,” he said.
Even more to his point, Hulsebos-Spofford mentions conversations he’s had with business professionals who seek out art students for their communication skills and ability to grasp “big picture” ideas.
"Art is collaborative. A lot of that revolves around team-building and communication, and being able to communicate your ideas effectively,” he said. “It’s a training that has broad plugins to a lot of different industries.”
Both Hulsebos-Spofford’s teaching and artwork are marvelous examples of using collaborative art and sculpture to communicate nuanced messages to the public. And IU Northwest students and community members get a front-row seat.
See more of Hulsebos-Spofford’s work here.
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