Olmec Trails: Culture and Legacy

Posted on: June 17, 2024

The Alliance of Downtown Glen Ellyn, the Glen Ellyn Park District, and the Village of Glen Ellyn have partnered to bring a hand-painted Olmec head to Downtown Glen Ellyn in Prairie Path Park as part of the Olmec Trails: Culture and Legacy project.

The Olmec Trails exhibition is set throughout DuPage County and showcases hand-painted, large-scale sculptures inspired by the iconic Mesoamerican Olmec heads. This display features the works of 33 contemporary artists from across North America, paying tribute to the indigenous roots of Mexican heritage and highlighting the significance of public art.

With funding provided by the JCS Arts, Health and Education Fund of the DuPage Foundation and the Village of Glen Ellyn, the head will be on display in Prairie Path Park until October. The project was brought together by Mexican Cultural Center DuPage, in coordination with Meztli Mexico, and is a partnership with the College of DuPage Public Art Project and the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Glen Ellyn’s art installation was painted by Eleazar Valencia Valencia, originally from the town of Tamulté de las Sabanas, a visual artist, cultural manager and promoter with a 30-year professional art career. His work is titled “Wonders of Tabasco.”

“It’s a piece that represents WATER;” the artist states. “Without water, there is no life. It also showcases the cultural heritage left by our ancestors: dances, music, and gastronomy. Additionally, it portrays the biodiversity of plants and animals found in the vast swamps and tropical jungles, many of which are categorized as endangered.”

Installed in strategic locations including the Forest Preserve, the College of DuPage, and the Mayslake Estate, “Olmec Trails” offers a fresh and accessible approach to the rich culture of the Olmec civilization. The exhibition aims to connect spectators with these unique artworks, promoting healthy engagement with the outdoors and providing benefits for both physical and mental health. This ambitious project serves as a platform for cultural education and artistic appreciation, enriching the community’s connection to a pivotal aspect of Mesoamerican history.

For more information on the Olmec Trails project, including additional DuPage installation locations, please visit