Taller Arte Papel (Paper Art Workshop) – San Agustín Etla, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Taller Arte Papel (Paper Art Workshop)

San Agustín Etla, Mexico

This art center located in a former hydroelectric plant uses native plants to create paper for kites, bags, jewelry, and more. 

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Opened in 1998 by the Mexican artist Francisco Toledo, this co-op of artists and makers aims to educate people on how to make contaminant-free paper art and artifacts.

The workshop is located in a building that was once home to Hidroeléctrica La Soledad, a hydroelectric plant that once provided electricity for all of Oaxaca. Toledo refurbished the building and set up the Taller Arte Papel (Paper Art Workshop) to share paper-making techniques with the local community.

All the paper pulp used here comes from renewable natural resources like bark, berries, or mica—all found locally. The space hosts workshops and offers studio space for visiting artists. Over the years, numerous artists have created installations while working here including Toledo himself, who created and flew paper kites featuring the faces of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who were kidnapped in 2014.

Visitors to Taller Arte Papel will also find paper jewelry, notebooks, boxes or bags for sale, the proceeds from which are invested into the arts and beyond. Now, instead of providing power to Oaxaca, the space aims to give back to the community and environment. Money made at Taller Arte Papel is reinvested into reforestation, nurseries, and cultural and educational programs. 

Know Before You Go

Taller Arte Papel is located next to the San Agustín Arts Center (CaSa) in the Vista Hermosa neighborhood of San Agustín Etla. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (hours may vary on holidays).