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Puerto Vallarta Celebrates Beloved Artist Manuel Lepe Macedo

Puerto Vallarta is gearing up to celebrate a twofold occasion: the city’s 106th anniversary as a municipality and its 56th as a city. As part of the festivities, the Vallartense Institute of Culture (IVC) will hold a special commemoration on May 27th in honor of the renowned local artist, Manuel Lepe Macedo.

Born in Puerto Vallarta in 1936, Lepe Macedo became a prominent figure in Mexico’s Naïve art scene. This artistic movement, characterized by its childlike innocence and focus on simple themes like family life and nature, perfectly captured the essence of his coastal hometown.

Despite lacking formal training, Lepe Macedo developed a unique and captivating style. His murals and paintings vibrantly depicted Vallarta’s charm: its stunning natural environment, joyful childhood scenes, and harmonious connection to the sea and mountains.

Many credit Lepe Macedo for playing a pivotal role in fostering Puerto Vallarta’s thriving art culture, a key element of its success as a leading Mexican beach resort. His artistic influence even extended to the city’s early tourism efforts, as he created the city’s first advertising posters. His influence extends to present day, as visitor associates Manuel Lepe’s strokes with this Jalisco port.

Lepe Macedo’s prolific career resulted in over 2,500 paintings, coveted by collectors worldwide. His works’ simplicity and pure artistry resonated with numerous celebrities and luminaries, including Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II, and John Huston.

Former president Luis Echeverría bestowed upon him the title of “The Painter of Mexico,” and Lepe Macedo’s works now grace museums and galleries across the globe. A 1979 exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Industrial Art drew a staggering one million visitors, solidifying his international acclaim.

Sadly, Lepe Macedo passed away in 1984. However, his legacy continues to inspire. He is recognized as one of Puerto Vallarta’s most illustrious sons, with the Encyclopedia of the Municipalities of Mexico acknowledging his contributions. UNISEF even incorporated his art into promotional materials, further cementing his global impact.

To celebrate this beloved artist, the city established “Manuel Lepe Day,” initially held on his birthday in April. In recent years, the commemoration was shifted to May 27th to coincide with the city anniversary celebrations culminating on May 31st.

This year’s event promises a vibrant display of artwork by Lepe Macedo’s daughter, Marcela Lepe, who carries on her father’s artistic tradition with her own brand of Naïve joy.

The public is warmly invited to join this celebratory event on Monday, May 27th, at 10:00 am. It will be held on the Malecón, near the iconic Puerto Vallarta letters and seahorse sculpture, promising a delightful immersion into the artistic soul of Puerto Vallarta.

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