The Downers Grove Public Library Foundation is proud to fund gifts that enhance the library’s art collection and cultural programming, providing opportunities for the whole of our community to explore and understand art.

Our support directly aligns with the library’s strategic objectives to not only enrich the community’s experience through art displays and collections, but also to connect people to the arts and cultural programs that embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Learn more about the most recent gifts from the foundation to the DGPL community below.

While passion for her Persian roots provides continual inspiration, Sarvin Haghighi’s cross-cultural exposure gives universal subtext to her work. Her meticulous compositions share the beauty of 13th century Persian poet Rumi, creating an emotional homage to tradition in a modern world. Often, including in the above piece, Haghighi’s experience as an immigrant and her feelings of duality from belonging to two places at once – her motherland of Iran and her current home in the United States, dominate as themes in her work.

Picture of Sarvin Haghigi's artwork titled Reborn
Reborn by Sarvin Haghighi

As a child during the Iran-Iraq war, Sarvin Haghighi turned to painting to find her voice, honoring her childhood memories and the traditions of her people while also providing cultural commentary on the female experience in contemporary Middle East society. Powerful memories, like Haghighi’s father reciting poetry after dinner, inform the artist’s use of the Farsi symbol for “love” throughout “Reborn.” This symbolism hails back to the theme of power and the power of words, poetry, and art to not only be visually engaging but also incite thoughtful and lively conversations that defy boundaries like culture, religion, race, language, and place.

Ta Da! by Daria Peoples, ©Daria Peoples

Daria Peoples is an author and illustrator who maintains a lifelong history as a library lover and enthusiast. Often reciting the story of her first job at the ripe age of nine working at her hometown library’s children’s section, Peoples’ love of storytelling made a perfect complement to her childhood love of drawing and painting. After working as a teacher for a decade, Peoples later transitioned to becoming a full-time author illustrator of children’s books, all while cultivating messaging and community that encourage youth to allow themselves to be seen and heard as citizens of the world.

Ta Da! is the illustration that graces the final page of the children’s picture book Show The World authored by Angela Dalton. The collage is a combination of oil and oil sticks painted onto khadi paper, with the khadi paper then collaged onto an illustration board. As the last image a reader views, Peoples’ collage piece shows a group of children playing outside engaging in a range of activities — drawing, roller skating, drumming, breakdancing; literally showing the world all that they can be, which can be interpreted as a direct representation of the book’s title. It is said that the first step in Peoples’ creative process is getting to know the manuscript intimately and reading it frequently prior to crafting initial sketches. The images on a page of a children’s book don’t necessarily have to tell the same story as the manuscript, however, Peoples’ deep connection to the story and the clear attempt to interpret how it may be viewed from the perspective of a child is also vividly apparent in this closing image showing children engaged in various forms of creative exploration.