What happens when a blank wall in Winchester, Virginia, 48 hours, and a vision are combined? In the hands of Oak Hill Academy’s art teacher, Dennis Wymer, the answer turns out to be, “quite a lot.” Mr. Wymer is a product of Virginia Commonwealth University’s art program, and is in his second year of teaching art at Oak Hill Academy. He also taught at other boarding schools in Virginia for several years prior to coming to OHA, all the while keeping his hand in the broader art scene across the state. Not confined to the classroom, Mr. Wymer is also a working artist and frequent contributor to art installations around Virginia. His current personal focus on “street art” seemed to fit the bill perfectly when the Winchester Art Market approached him about producing a mural on the most visible blank wall of the Bright Center, a downtown performance and event venue.
Because Winchester has such a rich history of traditional music, Mr. Wymer incorporated a fiddle player. He felt it was important to meld the area’s heritage with the modern aesthetic of his pop art style and color-blocking elements. The result is a vibrant, yet historically respectful, work that will engage the public and add to the art vibe in Winchester.
One of the most challenging and satisfying aspects of the commission was the time frame: one weekend. To Mr. Wymer, this was completely in sync with the ethos of street art: get in, make a statement, and get out. Describing the process as a “bit like a ‘guerrilla’ style of art,” Mr. Wymer was exhausted after the 48-hour work period, but was in homeroom and ready to teach class Tuesday morning after OHA’s long weekend. He describes the experience as one of the most rewarding of his career and is proud and honored to contribute to a thriving art scene in Winchester in such a public way. We at Oak Hill Academy are proud of him, too. A teacher who is steeped in theory and teaching technique, and actually continues to produce his own work, is an inspiration to his students. It is a significant goal for Mr. Wymer that his students see the possibilities beyond the classroom.