'Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World' come to Gail Borden Public Library starting Sept. 9

Twenty fantastical, colorful animals will feel right at home in the home of imaginary stories at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin.

Previously at Cantigny Park, these creatures from the Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage will be on display at the library from Sept. 9 through the second week of January 2024.

"Alebrijes" stem from Mexican folklore that was highlighted in the movie "Coco" and embody characteristics from many animals to create fantastical creatures.

The sculptures include Goliath, a 16-foot deer, giraffe and eagle, and Lacuarium, a seahorse-meets-dragon.

Elgin Mayor David Kaptain, state Sen. Cristina Castro, state Rep. Anna Moeller, and many more will help kick off this traditional Mexican art form at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the main library, 270 N. Grove Ave. in Elgin. Everyone is invited to help unveil these giant creatures, hear music and enjoy fun family activities.

"We were so happy that Gail Borden Library has these high ceilings to accommodate these tall creatures," said Gail Borden Foundation director and Elgin State President Yaneth Medina. "I am so pleased that the library foundation, the library, Elgin State Bank, KCT Credit Union, Bear Family McDonalds, Shales McNutt and other sponsors were able to make this happen. These Alebrijes inspired by Mexican folklore are going to bring people to the library in droves. The colors and the fanciful animals are fuel for the imagination."

"I am honored to help kick off this Alebrijes exhibit, " said Mayor Kaptain. "Elgin is a place that supports and embraces all cultures. We are proud of its rich Mexican culture and we want to celebrate and share diversity."

"We love hosting these Alebrijes," said Carole Medal, CEO of Gail Borden Public Library District. "It fits our mission statement so well as we are 'the library where imagination and transformation flourish, fueled by the power of community.'"

"I'm excited to bring these Alebrijes to this wonderful library," said Fernando Ramirez, President & Founder of the Mexican Cultural Center-DuPage. "There is no better place for imagination to take hold."

Twenty imaginary paper mache animals (8 large and 12 smaller figures) by Mexican artists Alejandro Camacho Barrera, Perla Miriam Salgado Zamorano, Roberto Carlos Martinez Tecillo, Edgar Camargo Reyes and Alberto Moreno Fernández will be on display throughout the Main Library.

People are invited to enjoy many events coordinated with the Hispanic Heritage Month and "Alebrijes."

• Grab a scavenger hunt map at the Main Library and explore the exhibit to win prizes. Take a photo with your favorite alebrije and text it to (847) 857-7740. Pick up a button with your picture on it at the main library drive-up window within 5 business days from the day of the text. One photo will be chosen at random Jan. 8 to win the grand prize: a creative art basket.

• Visit the special alebrije, Juki, at the library table during the Mexican Independence Day Celebration from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Festival Park, 132 S. Grove Ave. in Elgin.

There will be folkloric dances by the Mexican Dance Group Macehualitzli, the musical participation of Andrea Michel, Jose Diaz and Xitali "La chaparrita de oro," the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the performance of "El Grito de Dolores" and more. It is being offered with partners the City of Elgin and the Mexican Organization of Elgin (OME).

Learn how to paint and decorate an alebrije on your T-shirt.

• Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with special dance and music performances by the Bolivian Folkloric Group-Renacer, Cumbia Dance-Colombia and the Folkloric Dance Group of Honduras, and the Elgin Master Chorale. "Music and Art - The Universal Languages" will be 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the main library. You will also enjoy Latin Rhythms classes, an art demonstration with local artists, a storytime and many more surprises, along with a chance to win prizes. It is offered in collaboration with the Elgin Police Department.

• A Bilingual Small Business Workshop will be offered from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the main library's Meadows Community Rooms. Look for a list of participating speakers and topics coming soon.

Look for upcoming details about an exhibit stamping activity; an Alebrijes Art Contest for Elgin Area School District U-46 students and others; and an Alebrijes Reading Contest.

• A grand opening for the "Ofrenda Day of the Dead" exhibit will be 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in the main library. It will be on exhibit through Nov. 9.

Enjoy the grand opening of the traditional Mexican offering for Day of the Dead and learn more about this Mexican cultural tradition. Honor your loved ones by sending a digital photo that you want to be displayed by Thursday, Oct. 12 by email to or by text to (847) 857-7740. You must include your name, loved one's name, and your phone number.

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