Member of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10
Founder and President of Small Town Girl Arts
Alyssa Grieco ’12 has always been fascinated by science and art.
As a student at Sacred Heart Academy High School, Grieco excelled both inside and outside of the classroom. The Stewart Manor native was interested in most of her subjects. In particular, she enjoyed science and art. She graduated third in her class and played several sports including tennis and softball.
When the time came to choose a college, Grieco searched for a school that could nurture all of her interests and pursuits. “I was getting a lot of pressure from people to pick just one thing that I liked and major in it,” she said. “But, I wanted to learn about a variety of things and I wanted to stay active in sports, etc. Adelphi offered me everything I was looking for.” The University also piqued her budding infatuation with architecture. “The campus is so beautiful,” she said. “The buildings are a perfect mix of old and new.”
A member of the Honors College, Grieco chose physics as her major. She joined the Physics Club and played many intramural sports. However, she felt something was missing in her academic life. She decided to pick up two minors in studio art and art history. “That rounded me out and gave me all the things I was missing,” she said.
Some of her favorite professors at Adelphi were Sean Bentley, Maya Muratov, and Andrea Begel. “My relationships with my professors at Adelphi are my fondest memories,” said Grieco. “They are friends of mine. I wouldn’t have been able to have these relationships at another university. The professors at Adelphi are brilliant and genuine.”
Grieco’s favorite class at Adelphi was Masterpieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Little did she know that one day she would intern there and have the opportunity to come into contact with some of the rarest and greatest pieces of art in the world.
When Grieco graduated from Adelphi, she decided that she no longer wanted to pursue a career in science. Her interest in architecture led her to enroll in the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. There she discovered a talent and passion for historic restoration. While at Columbia, she began her internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she was introduced to stained glass restoration. “It was ideal for me because my science background was incredibly valuable,” she said. “Stained glass is really the perfect mix of science and art.” Grieco spent her time at The Met working hands on with stained glass works that were both masterpieces of art and relics of history. “I made a lot of mistakes at first,” she said. “You need a lot of patience in this line of work.” After some time however, Grieco became one of the most trusted interns at the Met. “I eventually was given the task of restoring a window that was from the 1600s,” she said. “That was amazing.”
For her thesis project at Columbia, Grieco traveled to England to explore and work in Westminster Abbey and York Minster Cathedral. “That was wonderful,” she said. “I’ve always loved gothic architecture and old places with a story.”
After her internship at The Met concluded and she graduated from Columbia, Grieco spent the next year searching for work in stained glass restoration, a field in which jobs are scarce. Rather than wait for an opportunity to present itself, Grieco decided to form Small Town Girl Arts, a seller of fine art prints, photography, paintings, watercolor drawings and of course, stained glass. Her works have been featured in several galleries including Barnes Gallery and Hicks Nurseries Pop Up Art Gallery.
In 2016, Grieco was hired by Michael Davis Stained Glass where she works on stained glass and other kinds of restoration projects. “At Michael Davis Stained Glass I got to do what is probably my greatest professional accomplishment up until this point. I got to work on windows from the Church of the Ascension in Queens,” she said. “I’m so proud of it because I got to do it from start to finish.”
Also in 2016, Grieco received her black belt in elite goju karate, a form of martial arts that she had been introduced to a few years prior. She is the founder and lead instructor of the Women’s Self Defense Program at New Generation Karate in Franklin Square. There she organizes and develops program curriculum to teach women how to defend themselves in a variety of everyday situations.
Grieco says that Adelphi is where she realized that she could live a well-rounded life and do all of the things that she enjoys. “It was a huge realization for me,” she said. “Adelphi helped me to discover a lot about myself.”