Meet AnnaLysa! Surrounded by an artistic family, AnnaLysa has been an artist since childhood and pursued her passion to Valdosta State and the University of New Mexico, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and then on to Florida State, where she achieved a master’s degree to become an art therapist. A thread running through AnnaLysa’s career is collaboration- AnnaLysa has collaborated with the community, with students, and with families to create work that tells a story, pushes a plotline, and creates a relationship between the work and the observer. AnnaLysa demonstrated this spectacular skill in creating the City of Woodstock mural, for which she connected with just about every facet of the community to tell its story well through the piece. Meeting AnnaLysa was just plain fun as her lightheartedness uplifted the conversation! It was evident early on that AnnaLysa is a deeply purposeful person, taking every opportunity to love, support, and listen to her family and her community.
Thank you so much, AnnaLysa, for brightening our community with your gifts and my day with your presence!! You are uniquely wonderful, and we are so honored to highlight your work here!
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: I grew up in the arts. I knew that would be my career path one way or another. I’ve taught art, done freelance commissions, gallery works and now The City of Woodstock Community mural. I really enjoy painting a narrative and telling a story and this project design opened to this easily. It helped too that it was a HUGE WALL! I absolutely loved the experience of working with The City of Woodstock and the community to create the design for this project. It turned out to be a three-year process due to some structural issues with the wall but it worked out perfectly because it offered us time to go into depth, to include and collaborate with many amazing citizens. I am so proud of this project and will carry it with me in everything I do moving forward.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
A: It’s hard because they’re all so good. While I was painting the mural, we dined at Partners II Pizza a lot. The flavors are amazing, and we had so much to take home and eat again!
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Woodstock?
A: We were there for about 10 years and loved it. Raising kids though, we realized we wanted a little more room for our kids to play. We fell in love with a farm in Waleska and we’ve been there for about 3 years now! We’re still kind of cleaning everything up; we’re hoping to do some gardening and some horse boarding. We’re trying to learn how to do everything in a clean and environmentally sustainable way. It has been so fun!
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Woodstock? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Woodstock?
A: To me, the most interesting and influential person I met while doing the mural was Juanita Hughes. She’s the city historian and she’s a writer! She’s always in the Dean Store, and she writes articles about where we have been and where we are going, she’s been essential in all of the archives and cataloging, and she’s really where I got most of the history and the stories for the “old-timey” part of the mural!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: I was speaking with a lady last week, and she is from the Isle of Man, which is in-between Ireland and the UK, and since then I’ve just been reading little stories of it and looking at pictures and it just seems like a tiny little adventure! So that’s where I would go right now.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: I love movies and its hard to pick a favorite. The first movie I remember seeing in the theatre was a re-showing of Snow White. I was 8yrs old and my mom took a few of my best friends, all dressed up to see it. I remember freaking out when the wicked witch turned old with the apple.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Make the relationships matter. I think we tend to believe we have all this time. That we can rush through things, just work work work, and get buried in our phones and Netflix binges. Then at the end of the day, you realize you haven’t looked anyone in the eyes, had a conversation or touched grass all day. Connection is so important.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: Stand up! Not because I think I’d be good at it, I actually think I would stink, but I just gotta know.
Q: What is your favorite music/3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: If I’m able to listen to music while I’m working, it’s got to be fun and peppy and I gotta know the words. I love most kinds of music, but I really love the oldies when I’m painting. The 50s and 60s, as well as 80s pop. When I’m finishing a piece I put on Push It from Salt-N-Pepper.
Q: Choosing anyone dead or alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Woodstock would you have lunch?
A: Initially I thought young Elvis would be fun and I think I would really enjoy his stories and even his accent, and then he would probably sing me something… But I would choose Bill Murray because he is a rascal and I adore how he has been sneaking in and out of people’s lives spontaneously. That is so fun and exciting and I want to talk to him about it. I want a Murray experience!
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Woodstock?
A: Other than it’s awesome for everybody? I love that everyone is outside! It’s so active, and every restaurant has a patio, there are green spaces, the gardens are lovely… It feels inviting and I love how inclusive it is.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: I’d like to be published- I’m working on illustrating some children’s books! I’d also like to be back into some galleries, and definitely more community work.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I love tap dancing! And then, digging deeper I thought I would share that while I was in college, I did like an “extra degree” so I have a degree in private investigating! I remember deciding to do it and thinking “This is funny! I’ll just do it and always have it in my back pocket…”
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Work (it’s a lot of hard work), peace, and play
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: Tom Hanks! I feel like Tom Hanks and I would be buddies, plus everything he touches is gold! I would try to make him snort-laugh every day. That would be the goal!
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: I would say housekeeper because the housekeeping does not bring me closer to my children or husband… if anything it probably pulls me farther away. You know, it piles up and then I want to burn the clothes… I want to throw out the dishes…. So yeah, it’d be housekeeping!
Check out the Woodstock mural in person on the side of the Woodstock Pharmacy building at 8612 Main Street! You’ll see AnnaLysa’s story-telling skills in an instant!