Massachusetts native Alyssa Pelletier (‘19) is an art student currently writing a children’s book for her senior thesis. At Clark, she is on quidditch, works at admissions, and so much more. Alyssa’s art is featured in ArtsWorcester, as she is also part of Worcester’s upcoming artist community. She sat down with The Scarlet to talk about her experiences at Clark as an artist, and who knew, pumpkin pie.
The Scarlet: Tell me a little bit about yourself… Yeah, let’s start there.
Alyssa: Okay, a little about me… It’s really weird to think about. I am graduating in under a month. I am a senior and I am studying studio arts and art history (as double major) with a minor in creative writing. And yeah… I am from Massachusetts, I lived here my whole life. And art has always been a part of my life.
The Scarlet: What made you come to Clark?
Alyssa: The people. I absolutely love the people. When I was looking at schools one thing that I really paid attention at every campus I visited was the student body and whether or not I could picture myself being part of the student body. And with Clark I totally fell in love with the student body. I fell in love with the people. Every single person I met I could picture being their friend and being in a classroom with them. And even now, four years later, Clarkies are still my favorite people in the world [chuckles].
The Scarlet: Has Clark lived up to your expectations… how has Clark impacted you as a person?
Alyssa: Yeah, I think Clark has definitely lived to my expectations. One thing that I think Clark really does well is prepare people to be creative thinkers and leaders. And to really respect others in all ways …I think for me Clark has really developed me—Clark has really helped me become a strong woman and a confident person and a creative problem solver and all of those things. What’s really great about Clark is that it can provide students a platform to do the things they want. If you’re really ambitious you can make anything happen at Clark.
I just feel like Clark has really allowed me to pursue a lot of creative projects. For example, my thesis right now, I am writing, illustrating, and self-publishing a children’s book. And I never would have thought of that in my first year. Clark has really helped and provided me a space to create that.
Sorry, I am very jumbled right now [laughs].
The Scarlet: No, not at all. It’s okay… So, what inspired you to write a children’s book?
Alyssa: I love writing. So with my creative writing minor I’ve mainly done novels. There are not really classes about children’s writing at Clark. So for my [senior] thesis I wanted to combine illustration and storytelling. I thought about the best way to do that… and I am really interested in continuing writing and creating art for kids in the future. I just think it’s a special way to combine art and storytelling. That was big inspiration behind it.
The Scarlet: So, what other things do you do at Clark and for the Worcester community?
Alyssa: A lot of things [chuckles]. At Clark I am on the quidditch team, which is super fun and it has been one of my favorite things that I’ve been involved with throughout my four years. I am also part of Clark Writes, which is our creative writing blog and its student curated, we also host a lot of [writing] contests. I have also done things with Clark University Players Society. And in the Worcester community I am really involved in ArtsWorcester, it’s a local nonprofit… and for them I interned and continue to volunteer for them and exhibit with them and to be a part of the artist community in Worcester.
The Scarlet: I noticed you are featured in ArtsWorcester. I did a little research and noticed one of your pieces [shows selected works by Clark students in an ArtsWorcester and a piece called “Kasule in November” by Alyssa Pelletier]. That’s one of your pieces!
Alyssa: I was chosen to submit three pieces for the College Show in ArtsWorcester (the 15th Annual College Show at the Aurora Gallery on Feb. 1st). And that one [pointing at the piece]won the juror’s price. So that was really really exciting, affirming and validating for me as an artist.
The Scarlet: What does this particular piece mean to you?
Alyssa: It was part of Professor Elli Crocker’s portrait course. So for each of the portraits there would be live models sitting in the room. I really tried to capture the essence of each model and let them in their posture and in their aura which kind of dictated how I drew them. And so each of the portraits that I did ended up really different because of that. But I felt they were really authentic and some of my favorite art that I’ve ever made. It was really really fun.
The Scarlet: So yeah, now to more fun questions… generic questions … [both laugh].
The Scarlet: Any plans for the Summer… or any plans after Clark?
Alyssa: Yes, this summer I am going to an archeological dig in Turkey with Professor Townsend in the art history department. It’s a total dream come true. I’ve studied a lot of ancient Greek and ancient Roman civilizations as an art major, so this is really an amazing opportunity to go abroad and experience the ruins and help reconstruct temples and clean mosaics and help dig and excavate the site of the ancient Roman city that I will be working on. And I get to do it with a Clark professor. I’m super super excited about it. It’s going to be so much fun.
I am also going to a six-day workshop in Wisconsin for object analysis through the Chipstone Foundation. So that will also be a fun plan for the summer. After all of those travels, I’ll probably be back to central New England or close to Worcester because I want to continue to be involved in the Worcester arts scene and keep up my connections with Clark and the artists in the city who have become good friends and mentors.
Scarlet:If you had a chance to give yourself a piece of advice four years ago as an incoming freshman, what would you say?
Alyssa: That’s a really good question [pauses, pondering]… I would tell myself four years ago to explore Worcester more because I feel like I did that after my first year. It really took me until my sophomore year to really get involved in Worcester. The mentors and friends that I’ve made in the Worcester community have totally been instrumental to my education and my life and have had such a huge impact on me as much as Clark has.
I would tell first year me to find ArtsWorcester sooner! [both laugh]. And to get involved in the Worcester Arts Museum sooner just because they’ve been my favorite parts of college and have been really instrumental to me as my development as an artist and a thinker and a person.
The Scarlet: Similar question, what are your takeaways from being at Clark?
Alyssa: Don’t be afraid to march the beat of your own drum. That’s always what I loved about Clarkies. It even goes back to our motto, “Challenge Convention, Change our World.” I think Clark is a place where everyone can march the beat of their own drum. And it’s been the first place where I feel like I can do that as well… It’s such a fun and loving place.
The Scarlet: What’s a strange or fun fact about yourself?
I met Daniel Radcliffe once. That was pretty cool.
The Scarlet: What’s something people might not notice about you at first glance?
Alyssa: At first glance… that’s a really good question. I am really adventurous. I always have to have big adventures happening in my life one way or the other. I love to explore new places and meeting new people. I always need that kind of excitement and change in my life.
The Scarlet: If you were a food, which would you be?
Alyssa: [Astonished] Probably pumpkin pie because it’s my all-time favorite food and it’s actually my nickname from my mom, she calls me pumpkin pie. So I feel that’s been decided for me [laughs].
The Scarlet: Any last words?
Alyssa: Thank you so much for your time and for this interview. It’s really coming at a special moment in my life. I’m really excited to leave Clark and all of the things ahead if me.