Service Request Explore Elmhurst

OLMEC TRAILS: CULTURE AND LEGACY

OLMEC TRAILS: CULTURE AND LEGACY 

Featuring 33 Artists' Work Painted on Sculptures Recreating Ancient Mexican Culture Throughout DuPage County. 

Including one installation on Spring Road & the Prairie Path in Elmhurst!

Mexican Cultural Center DuPage (MCCD) in coordination with Meztli Mexico and in partnership with the College of DuPage Public Art Project (COD) and the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) presents an exciting new project: “Olmec Trails: Culture and Legacy.” This new outdoor exhibit featuring 33 large, brightly colored, hand-painted renditions of iconic Mesoamerican sculptures will be displayed July through October 2024 predominantly throughout suburban Chicago’s DuPage County in an expansive exhibition highlighting the culture of the ancient Olmec civilization in a fresh and accessible way.

To celebrate the exhibition, a free “Olmec Family Fiesta” celebration will be held at COD's McAninch Arts Center’s (MAC) Lakeside Pavilion, 425 Fawell Blvd., Sunday, June 30, 2-6 p.m. This family friendly event featuring live music by Mariachi Monumental, folkloric dance by Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl, salsa dance lessons, face painting, food vendors and more is sponsored by College of DuPage Foundation. Attendees will have the opportunity to view the Olmec sculptures installed at COD and immerse themselves in the educational and informational display in the MAC lobby containing information on locations and artists and the mystery of the legendary Olmec people. More information is available at OlmecTrails.com. 

The colossal stone heads, crafted by the Olmecs between 1400 BCE to 400 BCE, originated in the southern part of Veracruz, Mexico, the cultural heart of this early Mesoamerican civilization. Each multi-ton sculpture, sculpted from a single stone using primitive tools, reflected the Olmecs' artistic prowess and their significant influence on subsequent Mesoamerican cultures. Today, these iconic heads are celebrated globally as prime examples of pre-Columbian art and adorn various museums and public spaces. Notably, the Olmecs, Mesoamerica's earliest civilization, left enduring legacies, including the precursor to sports like basketball and soccer. “Olmec Trails” pays tribute to the indigenous roots of Mexican heritage as well as brings attention to the importance of public art by showcasing the immense talent and creativity of 33 contemporary artists from across North America.

Installations will be located throughout DuPage County and beyond. Those in DuPage County include 10 installations located on the walking paths of College of DuPage; five at St. James Farm in Warrenville, Ill.; four at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, Ill.; three at Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook, Ill.; and one in the following locations: Naperville’s downtown and 95 St. Public Libraries; Great Western Prairie Path in Elmhurst, Ill.; Glen Ellyn Prairie Path in Glen Ellyn, Ill.; Kline Creek Farm, West Chicago Public Library, West Chicago Park District and Kruse House in the City of West Chicago, Ill.; plus a location to be announced. A list of location addresses can be found here.

Installations outside of DuPage County include the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Ill. and the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. The latter is in honor of Carlos Tortolero, the museum’s President Emeritus and Founder, and the inspiration behind the project. Support for “Olmec Trails: Culture and Legacy” is provided in part by the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage, College of DuPage, the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Illinois Office of Tourism and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Artist support is provided in part by Meztli Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Arts Alliance. 

The Elmhurst Public Arts Commission would like to thank The Schiller Team for their generous donation in bringing one of the installations to Elmhurst which will be located on Spring Road & the Illinois Prairie Path!