Project Description

Students will be inspired by authentic Oaxacan sculptures of magical animals called alebrijes to create dazzling paper sculptures, developing their own mythical creatures with a personal significance. Through this process they will explore the question: “How do artists turn their dreams into works of art?” When finished, they will work in pairs or small groups to tell brief stories with their alebrijes and can photograph them in dynamic poses.

Final Product
Each artist will take home a beautiful, free-standing paper sculpture to become a magical part of their living space.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will learn about the origin and cultural significance of Oaxacan alebrijes. 
  • Students will learn how to turn a two-dimensional piece of tag board into a free-standing sculpture, understanding the difference between 2D and 3D art forms.
  • Students will conceptualize hybrid animals that represent themselves.
  • Students will draw, use scissors, and develop a color scheme. 
  • Students will work collaboratively in pairs or small groups to develop characters and tell stories with their alebrijes. 

Suggested Grades

  • 2nd-12th (can be adapted for students of all ages)

Pricing Breakdown

  • 4 visits at 45 minutes each
  • Prep hours: 2 hours per classroom
  • Materials: $1.25 per student
  • Travel from Cottage Grove

This residency can be offered to up to 4 classes per day.


“Tom was fantastic. Tom had above average for student management and student engagement. His teaching abilities are a major strength. Additionally, the final projects, across the board, looked terrific.” –Holt Elementary Principal

“This is my favorite thing we have done all year!” -Marcola High School student

I want to create a space for students to tell their own stories with the materials that excite them, while forging personal connections with 40,000 years of global art history, making meaning out of a complex world, and enriching their lives with beauty and creative, collaborative problem-solving.

-Tom Miller

Submit Your Residency Request