Article mostly by city historian, Juan Manuel Gomez Encarnación.
Puerto Vallarta painted its essence in the childish mind of Manuel Lepe Macedo.
Manuel was a child in the 1940s, Vallarta at that point in time was completely innocent and knew nothing of it future in world tourism, played with contrasting white houses against the multiple green shades of the jungle and pristine emerald colored waters of the bay.
It was a candid Vallarta; isolated by rugged geography. Its small population formed one large family, that spoke the language of solidarity.
That Vallarta, with its transparent atmosphere and soul, branded its dreams into this child.
In it he recorded the games, the traditions, the shapes, colors, aromas, the sparkle and the love... So, Manuel came out of his childhood transformed into a magician, in a poet with coloful verses, seduced by the magic of his surrounding.
Canvas to canvas, painting by painting, Manuel restituted his town the treasure he had received. Just as the biblical talents, Lepe multiplied his to give Vallarta a rightful place in the world; to win it a seat in the world's art.
"Mexico's artist" as he was called by President Luis Echeverría Álvarez. "Vallarta's artist," as he was named by teacher Carlos Munguia Fregoso.
John Huston stated: "Manuel paints his pictures to bring joy to the child that lurks in the heart of us all."
And Actor Peter O'Toole, "Manuel attends the ceremony of innocence."
Mr. Carlos Munguia Fregoso, city historian par excellence, says: "Indeed, the work of Lepe is an ode to the innocence, joy and love of his hometown."
With his work considered within the Naïve art, Manuel Lepe managed to obtain a prominent place among contemporary artists. His work transcended the borders of Mexico and was included in the French Directory "Painters of the Century."
Lepe held forty-three exhibitions in his forty years of artistic life. Probably the most important of them all was the one at the Museum of Art and Science, Los Angeles, California in 1979, for the celebration of the International Year of the Child that was enjoyed by over a million visitors."
On April 16, 2010, Puerto Vallarta honored Manuel Lepe with the title of "Favorite Son of Vallarta."
Along with Priest Rafael Parra Castillo and Don Agustín Flores Contreras, the name of Manuel Lepe Macedo is on the list of illustrious men of Puerto Vallarta, within The Encyclopedia of the Municipalities of Mexico.