Brightly colored and richly patterned sculpture of an imaginary hybrid animal

Spirit Guides: Fantastical Creatures from the Workshop of Jacobo and María Ángeles

Encounter fantastical creatures sited throughout the living galleries of the Gardens.

April 28 – Sept. 8, 2024

Created by the workshop of Mexican artists Jacobo and María Ángeles, these brightly colored and richly patterned sculptures depict imaginary hybrid animals that act as both spirit guides and astrological embodiments of human character. Inspired by the Zapotec calendar, Spirit Guides is an unforgettable outdoor experience reminding us of the profound connections that bind us to the inhabitants of the natural (and cosmological) world.


About the Artists

Jacobo and María Ángeles are a married artist team based in San Martín Tilcajete in Oaxaca, Mexico. Joyful, fanciful and distinctively patterned, the Ángeles’ animal sculptures embrace both contemporary art practices and folk art traditions. With increasing demand for their works, the artists employ more than 100 artisans in a workshop that also acts as an art school, offering creatives the opportunity to advance and develop their artistic skills. The workshop’s creations have been exhibited in museums throughout the globe, including the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

In the News

El Comercio, May 1, 2024
Tesoros de la imaginación oaxaqueña exhibidos en el Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Gazette, May 19, 2024
Art scene blooms continuously at Denver Botanic Gardens. Artists' exhibits include María and Jacabo Ángeles, Alexandra Kehayoglou.

The Denver Post, June 3, 2024
Mysterious, hybrid animals lurk among the flora at Denver Botanic Gardens. The giant and colorful sculptures are part of the summer show “Spirit Guides.”


Related Programs

Curator Conversations Tour

Join us for a stroll through current art exhibitions in our state-of-the-art Freyer – Newman Center galleries with a curatorial staff member. Explore our diverse art exhibitions, which support Denver Botanic Gardens’ mission to connect people to plants, and learn about the artists, artworks and processes during an engaging, interactive conversation.

Spirit Guides Outdoor Art Tour

Experience the wonder and awe of Spirit Guides in the gardens on this tour that explores the outdoor sculpture exhibition as well as related plant themes.

Spirit Guides Drop-in Artmaking

Inspired by the Spirit Guides exhibition, paint your own miniature papier-mâché animals, such as butterflies, swans and peacocks. 

  • Saturdays, June 8 & August 24, and Sunday, July 28, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. outside Boettcher Memorial Center. All ages.
  • Various papier-mâché animals and art supply kits for purchase $12-$22.

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