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Get to Know the Faculty: Melissa Wilkinson


A-State art associate professor Melissa Wilkinson is making her mark on Jonesboro, literally. Let's Get to Know the woman who's class is painting a mural in downtown this summer.

Melissa Wilkinson

Melissa Wilkinson

Place of birth:
Waukegan, Illinois
Why did you choose A-State?
A-State's art department had a very rigorous yet comfortable climate. Students were hungry and willing to work. My department coexists well with wide-reaching research interests. The community is growing and optimistic about the potential for how it will move forward. The students have been engaged and committed and I've found great, stimulating friends.
What music is playing in your car?
What is your favorite podcast?
The Ted Radio Hour
What are you working on right now?
I am working on a summer special topics painting course to paint a mural for an 80 foot downtown wall. The hopes are to create something that can create a buzz enough to revitalize the visibility of the arts for the community. I'm also working on a new body of paintings in the studio that have a photorealist/collage bent that are inspired from pop up dance parties in Paris called Flash Cocotte.
The last book I read for fun was...
"So You've Been Publicly Shamed" by Jon Ronson.
My favorite trip was...
to Spain last year to teach for the Honors College at A-State for the Term.
What makes a good professor?
A good professor practices patience and has the ability to break down complex ideas simply. A great professor allows for students to find their own voice and use it to the best of their own capabilities without prescription or hovering.
The best advice I ever received was...
in the form of a favorite quote I came across in an interview... "Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work." by Chuck Close.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
My high school teacher Amy Frankel. She had a wonderful enthusiasm and believed in and invested in me. She balanced a dynamic classroom while teaching in one of the largest and most challenging high schools in the country.
What makes for a good student?
Curiosity, investment in community and work ethic.
Your philosophy on education in seven words:
Clarity, Flexibility, Conversation, Enthusiasm, Research, Work, and Inquiry
If you could teach another field, which one and why?
I would study popular culture through the lens of philosophy and sociology.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
The general populace engages with art EVERY SINGLE DAY. Art contributes in defining who we are culturally. The people who dismiss art are the least interesting.
In college, I was known for...
being studious and making inappropriate jokes.
My favorite motion picture is...
Talk to Her by Pedro Almodovar.
The television series I must TiVo...
Orange is the New Black. (who needs a TiVo?)
If I could travel anywhere it would be...
the Netherlands.
Four people I'd take to coffee...
Liberace, Madonna, Stephen Fry and Nigella Lawson.
What is the one thing I've learned I'd tell my college self...
it's all necessary, especially the tough stuff.
My hobby is...
My passion is...
My pro sports team is...
I'm not a team sports person... but Vespa races, if it were a thing - to that, I'd be devoted.
My pet peeve is...
My favorite meal is...
cheese. Just cheese.
A perfect day is...
Coffee shop to start with a good book or conversation, painting in the studio with that perfect album that has hit the sweet spot, a good long hike with the dogs and dinner with a loved one over a sickly sweet cocktail. Perhaps a good art house film to end the evening.
My spirit cartoon character is...
Tina from Bob's Burgers.
What I like about Jonesboro is...
Craighead Forrest.
When I want to crush karaoke, my song is...
"Reminisce" by Mary J. Blige.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. All day, every day.
E-book or hardback?
Beach or mountains?
Why not both?
Dinner or supper?
Dinner without shoes on, outside.
The one thing I'd take to a desert island (that's not a boat)...
a tiny home outfitted with solar power.
I wish I could...
hold my tongue.
My favorite saying is...
there is a million different ways to do one thing.