Carly Cross is director and founder of MexArt, the only summer institute for teens in Mexico. She was raised in Philadelphia and Virginia Beach, graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and from McGill University where she majored in oboe performance and psychology. Her resume is filled with music awards and academic honors. Her strong international interests have led to cross-cultural education evidenced by her many semesters abroad and extensive travel. Carly directed Med-O-Lark Camp--a well-known arts camp in Maine--for 300 11-15 year olds from 1994-2001. Having founded MexArt in San Miguel in 1999, Carly now maintains the MexArt winter office, gearing up for each new season with admissions, registration, billing, insurance, and travel. During the summer, she oversees and runs the program in San Miguel.

In 2003 Carly purchased land in centro San Miguel and in 4 months constructed Casa Carly, the now-permanent home of MexArt. The property has 7 casitas all with kitchenettes and private bathrooms. The extensive gardens with central fountains, a fish pond, and outdoor sitting areas lend themselves to reading, studying and socializing with others. During the off-season of MexArt, she runs Casa Carly as a small hotel, renting the casitas to visitors to San Miguel.

In addition to directing MexArt and managing Casa Carly, Carly continues to pursue her music interests playing oboe in a small ensemble, hosting dinner concerts, and organizing concerts. In her 5 years of living full-time in San Miguel, learning and becoming fluent in Spanish has been a priority. Through her learning experiences, she's able to create a warm, non-competitive, creative environment for learning Spanish and increasing fluency.


Caren Cross is an on-site director of MexArt and helps the program as needed during the summer months. Caren has a bachelor in fine arts from Boston University where she majored in painting. Caren later returned to school and earned her masters in social work. As an L.C.S.W. Caren had a thriving psychotherapy practice for twenty five years based in Philadelphia in the early years and later in Virginia Beach. In 1998 Caren closed her practice and moved with her husband, David, to San Miguel de Allende to pursue her love of painting and gardening.

In 2006 she completed her documentary film, Lost and Found in Mexico, the story of why she and other expats in San Miguel have made the decision to abandon their homes in the U.S., leaving behind "successful" lives, seeking to start again outside of their native culture. This year she continues on the film festival circuit and works to promote her documentary.  For more information click: 


David Cross David has a bachelor degree in engineering and a masters in educational psychology. David has been a consultant to businesses focusing on organizational development and interpersonal skill development.  Twenty-two years ago he founded a steel manufacturing company in Virginia to which he continues to consult long-distance from San Miguel de Allende.

The Crosses have been married for over thirty years and have two adult children, Carly and Jordan.  The Crosses moved to San Miguel in 1998 in order to 'smell the roses', play golf (he), and paint (she).  Caren and David help as needed with the MexArt program and are always available during the MexArt season to ensure that the program is running smoothly.