An artist who makes time for everything


The abundance of artistic talent on the Island is always amazing when we stop a minute to think about it. It’s come more to light in our office as we’ve realized that one of our feature writers, Allison Roberts, has a whole other side to her that involves pens and sketching, cameras and lenses, and watercolors. And that’s likely not all.

I recently found out that she makes incredibly sweet ornaments with lifelike little paintings of pets. As soon as I heard, I ordered three of them — two of my daughter’s cats and one of our dog Scrappy. They were the biggest hit around our tree last week. Finding out more about Allison and her talent was rolling around in my head during the holiday break, so I asked her about art and her connection to her work.

She moved here with her husband Eric a little over a year ago, after living and growing up in Rochester, N.Y. Her parents met at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where they both studied in the art department in the late 1950s. They were both painters and illustrators; her dad still paints, and he’s 90 now. I watched a YouTube video ( where they were painting together side by side.

“Growing up, there were art supplies everywhere, and my dad was always sketching us and everything around the house,” she told me. “They were both very encouraging to me and to my two brothers. My brother Paul is a very good photographer, and does some sculpting and painting, and he writes articles on wildlife biology, mostly fish. My brother Mark writes poetry and dabbles in painting, but he’s mostly engineering-focused.”

Allison says she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t drawing, and today her house is full of artwork created by her family. Her daughter is also a very good visual artist, she said.

Back in Rochester, she had several art shows, some with her dad. Allison painted theater sets and props, as well as murals and other public artworks. Now she’s working on getting established in the many-faceted art community on the Island.

“I have been slowly putting myself out there, and decided to take this first year getting acquainted with things,” she said. “I had a show at the Playhouse, and I have some of my work at Tending Joy in West Tisbury, Coastal Supply in Vineyard Haven, and at Craftworks in Oak Bluffs. I’ve been meeting a lot of people, and I have a tendency to think I need to do everything right away, but when we moved here, I decided I needed to chill.”

For their first few months here, that’s exactly what she did.

“I took a class with Nancy Aronie, and tried settling in,” she says. “I was exhausted; it was a big change, and it was nice to be able to do that.”

During the COVID pandemic Allison dipped into found-object art, eventually creating more than 30 pieces.

“I was crazed,” she said. “I couldn’t stop making that stuff. I started looking up more information on all of my pieces; I had like 37 pieces, and I had stuff that went along with it.” One piece, “Women’s Work,” details how the pandemic impacted women. The main component is a yellow stove with many arms reaching out of it, signifying all the many things women juggle.

Even though she’s moved to a new place and started a new job, Allison makes time to work on creative projects. She’s even thinking of trying out new artforms.

“I just bought some carving tools, because I want to play around with carving, and I want to try ceramics,” she said. “I feel like it’s really important to get out of your comfort zone. I’m trying to make myself do things I’m less familiar with.”

Just thinking about spending a dozen hours a week working on projects outside of work (I forgot to mention she’s also involved in theater, and founded a comedy troupe in Rochester) sends me into a tailspin, so I am in wonder of a coworker who manages to both write and create the art she loves. It keeps her in the present, Allison says, because it’s so immediate.

Check out Allison Roberts’ work at and on Instagram at



  1. You are all so Very Lucky to Have Allison and her talents with you in MV

    Wait until you see what comes Next : )

    We truly Miss her Back in Rochester !!

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