Another group of unique handicraft artisans who have participated at Maestros del Arte since its inception is Centro de Integración Tapalpa - a very special school for troubled and children in need. They have been taught to create animals and sculptures of whimsical and imaginative design made of papelmalecho (papier-mâché).
The Villalevers, a couple from Guadalajara built this unique school in Tapalpa dedicated to nurturing the artistic, creative and academic potential of special-needs children. With the aid of volunteers from the town and donated land, the Villalevers have helped transform the lives of 300 students.
Before the construction of this school, many of these children felt apart from the community. A very creative teacher, Marcos Canisáles, began the project of teaching them to express their dreams and beliefs through working with papel malecho (paper maché) and recycled garbage - bottoms of plastic soft-drink bottles, newspaper, egg cartons, grain bags – all are used to create the whimsical papel malecho creations. The students paint their magical projects in the traditional folk style of florapintura or flower painting.
The group displayed a special papel malecho (papier-mâché) exhibit called “The Flora and the Fauna of the Planet of 8 Suns” at Maestros del Arte 2003. Created by Maestro Marco Canisales, the life-size woman was decorated with a myriad of birds and animals, suns and flowers - she was purchased by one of the shoppers at the event.