Wheaton Mayor Phil Suess welcomed Governor JB Pritzker to Cantigny Park, in Wheaton, this summer. The Governor was visiting to announce the second round of the Tourism Attraction and Festivals Grant program offered by the State. This grant is funded using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. The new $15 million in funding will help support the tourism sector across Illinois. Five million of the grant funding is reserved for festivals, which help unite communities and promote camaraderie, while bringing in extra tourism dollars.
Mayor Suess-Governor Pritzker-Cantigny Park - Alebrijes

Mayor Suess welcomes Governor Pritzker and speaks about the new grant that benefits tourism in Wheaton and throughout Illinois.

The other ten million will be used for a wide array of tourism-related projects. These could include everything from museums, to live performance venues, attractions and exhibits. The first round of this grant helped to foster attractions throughout the state, including $60,000 in tourism funding going to support the incredible five-month outdoor exhibit, Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World at Cantigny Park.

Featuring dozens of mythical animals inspired by Mexican folklore, Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World showcases how we can foster meaningful programs to celebrate and serve our local communities, while lifting Illinois as a whole.

“A remarkable group of collaborators made this happen. Thank you to Governor Pritzker, DCEO and the Illinois Office of Tourism for this grant that enabled our artists from Mexico City to bring this dream to life, celebrating cultural diversity and personal connection through art.” —DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Beth Marchetti.

Mayor Phil Suess and Governor Pritzker-Cantigny-ParkThe celebration continues for the blockbuster Mexican folk-art exhibit, “Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World”. The City of West Chicago even declared 2022 “Year of the Alebrijes” in honor of the display. Forty-eight lively alebrije sculptures—some delightfully oversized and others perfectly petite—populate Cantigny Park. They were created by six artists from Mexico City who participate annually in the internationally-known “La Noche de los Alebrijes,” a parade and festival in Mexico City for “Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead).

Governor Pritzker honored the success of the exhibit at the press conference (see video below), highlighting it as a premier example of what can be accomplished through the state’s targeted programs to ignite recovery for leisure and hospitality. The exhibit has contributed to a 31% attendance increase at the park in 2022.

Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World is on display through October. See the video, below, featuring Governor Pritzker. View the full art exhibit details.

Photo, Left to right: Sara Phalen, Mexican Cultural Center DuPage Board Chair; Mayor Ruben Pineda, City of West Chicago; Fernando Ramirez, Mexican Cultural Center DuPage President and Founder; Mayor Phil Suess, City of Wheaton; Governor JB Pritzker; Matt LaFond, Cantigny Park Executive Director; Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton; Beth Marchetti, DCVB Executive Director; State Representative Terra Costa Howard; Sylvia Garcia, Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Senator Laura Ellman