Teaching Staff

The MexArt teaching staff is composed of artists, dancers, and teachers all very talented in their specific field. Most teachers continue working with MexArt for years. At least 75% of MexArt teachers have been teaching with MexArt since it's opening summer of 2001.  Teachers are hired based on their skills in their professional field, and not on language spoken.  As a result, some classes are given in Spanish, others in English, and others in a bilingual setting.

Spanish teachers are professional teachers who give Spanish lessons year-round in San Miguel to visitors and foreign residents.  While most teachers are bilingual, some only speak Spanish.  The emphasis of MexArt's Spanish classes is on spoken fluency, applying vocabulary and grammar rules the student has learned at home and in MexArt classes in spoken proficiency and understanding spoken Spanish.


 Congo and Ruthie

Ruthie and Congo, Counselors & Homesickness Experts
Ruthie, a rescued street dog, is a 7-year veteran of MexArt while Congo is a newer addition to the team. Congo is a 4-year old black Labrador who is interested in chewing anything he can get his hands on. Ruthie, while quite large, still thinks she's a lap dog and will gladly sit with students and staff, pleading with her eyes for more petting. Ruthie and Congo are sure cures for homesickness, easily putting students at ease, giving them their undivided attention.

 Shannon Reese

Shannon Reece, Photography
Shannon Reece is the photography teacher for MexArt. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Vancouver and also has a degree from the Emily Carr College of Arts and Design. She concentrates on photography and printmaking. Shannon has had six one-man shows and has shown in many group settings. She has won 2 significant awards for her photographic work. Shannon has taught photography at MexArt every summer since MexArt was founded in 2000.

 Joan Elena Goldberg

Joan Elena, Pottery
Learn hand building, wheel throwing, and unique decoration techniques in the lovely Centro home/studio of artist Joan Elena Goldberg. New students will be introduced to coil building, slab construction, slump molds and simple clay modeling. Pottery wheel instruction includes basic centering, opening and raising techniques. Experienced students are welcome to work independently in a group with instruction. Finishing techniques using colored slips (engobes), glazing, and kiln firing are essential to learning the art of ceramics.


Jose Juan Palacio, Ironwork
Jose Juan was born and raised in San Miguel. He was brought up in a metal working family where he learned his trade. He now has his own workshop where he works with his brother and teaches MexArt students with metal creations.


Paco, Silver Jewelry
Born and raised in SMA, Paco learned jewelry making from his father, the locally famous jewelry designer and store/workshop owner, David. Paco, having taken over from his father, continues to run his family's jewelry production studio and store. Classes are held in his workshop with MexArt students working alongside professional jewelry makers. After choosing example jewelry from Paco’s store displays, students learn techniques to recreate their favorite pieces. With Paco’s patient guidance and input students produce professional looking jewelry with their own creative touches. In addition Paco speaks primarily Spanish during class, requiring students to exercise their languages skills


Patty Arrieta, Dance
Patty Arrieta is a professional dancer, instructor and choreographer from New York City. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in the San Fransisco Bay Area, she began her training as a gymnast and competed for many years. She has been awarded scholarships to several institutions including The Ailey School and has since danced with modern companies and commercial artists alike. She enjoys traveling the globe as a performer and instructor, all the while continuing to learn and explore new movement styles.

Patty has been a member of The Next Stage Project, Extended Dance, DixonMena Dance, One Mile and Dance Anonymous. Her work as a dancer and choreographer has been showcased in many festivals, most notably the International Fringe Festival (NYC), Cervantino (Mexico) and the Guanajuato International Film Festival (Mexico). She has performed alongside Billboard chart topper Sarah Atereth and appeared as a featured dancer in her video "It Doesn't Take Much". She's danced for theater productions, dance industrials, New York Fashion Week, charity and corporate events and has been published as a dance model. Patty is co-founder of TRANSITIONS, a contemporary dance company that performs and teaches workshops internationally. She is currently a member of the aerial troupe GRAVITYWORKS, specializing in new circus arts. In 2010 she was invited to create a site specific piece that was performed at the inaugural TEDxSanMigueldeAllende.

Patty enjoys teaching and 2012 marks her 7th year as a faculty member of MexArt. She's worked as an instructor in dance studios, fitness facilities, NYC schools, community outreach programs, summer camps and has taught intensive workshops in high schools and universities. Her choreography for competition dance teams has won top awards. In San Miguel de Allende she has taught for Gravityworks School, El Sindicato, Libelula, Gimnasia Artística Deportiva and held her own classes. She is passionate about dance and delights in sharing that love and inspiration with others.

 Christy Olvera

Christie Olvera, Dance
Christie Olvera, was born in Pittsburgh and raised in State College, PA where she began dancing at the age of five studying ballet, pointe, tap and jazz for 11 years. She then attended Ohio University in Athens, OH where she majored in Health Education and Psychology. Upon graduation she moved to Cincinnati, OH where she began teaching ballroom dancing lessons at the Arthur Murray School of Dance where she later became the studio manager. She met her husband, Adrian (who is from Mexico) while out salsa dancing. The two of them became instant dance partners and went on to become three-time Street Salsa Champions at Cincinnati Dancesport, an international ballroom dance competition. They also placed first on Mexico's popular VidaTV variety show in 2003. Christie founded the dance program at Cincinnati Country Day School where she taught for seven years prior to moving to San Miguel. There she choreographed the middle and high school musicals and the varsity dance team routines as well as teaching various dance electives at the school. Now a permanent resident of San Miguel, Christie opened an Arthur Murray studio locally and is enjoying great success as a new dance center in town. Christie loves teaching all styles of dance from ballroom to ballet, musical theater to mambo, and believes anyone who wants to can learn. Her mantra is "if you've got a heartbeat, you've got rhythm".


Rocio, Spanish Coordinator
Rocio is trained as a Spanish as a second language teacher and tutor. She regularly works with Warren Hardy and tutors his students. Rocio coordinates Spanish classes with the other teachers, assesses students for class placement, and teaches classes. MexArt Spanish classes are hands-on and encourage conversation.


Spanish Teaching Staff
MexArt's Spanish classes are offered daily for two hours concentrating on student communication, conversation, and fluency. San Miguel is a charming colonial town rich in history. Roaming the serpentine cobblestone streets, one finds 16th and 17th century buildings, flower-filled patios, burros delivering wood, women selling handmade dolls, men hawking straw baskets. This backdrop offers MexArt students an unsurpassed cultural experience and inspires each student to speak Spanish and integrate into this rich community. MexArt's Spanish teachers teach Spanish to foreigners year-round in class settings and private tutors. They are native Spanish speakers, but speak English VERY well. Their experience in teaching foreigners is invaluable and they easily recognize and intuitively correct mistakes that English speakers often make in speaking Spanish.


Juana, Cooking
Juana has been a professional cook for over 20 years having worked in restaurants, homes, and for catering. Juana has been working with MexArt and the Cross family since 2005 and continues to delight palates. Juana cooks 2 meals daily at MexArt and teaches a cooking class to interested students. She also caters meals for Casa Carly's Duets Events, a duet of fine food and musical duos.