Having a working artist as a teacher is a powerful thing. The Oak Hill Academy visual arts program, under the direction of Dennis Wymer, regularly produces students who go on to an art major or attend some of the best art schools in the nation. Oak Hill Academy graduates can be found at VCUarts, Parsons New School of Design, and a host of college and university art departments. Currently, the art program at Oak Hill Academy offers painting and printmaking, a graphic design class, drawing, a 3-dimension course including sculpting, an AP art studio class, and several independent study opportunities. In addition to teaching art, Mr. Wymer also started and coaches the wrestling team at Oak Hill Academy–he seems to have boundless energy!
Mr. Wymer recently explained, “My passions for art and wrestling actually make sense if you understand that my approach to both is in building. I believe making art is about building–constantly adding new layers of understanding of technique and observation. It’s the same with wrestling: it’s about building on technique and understanding of the craft. Art, to me, is not about the pursuit of perfection, it’s about building your abilities and understanding with the goal of creating better and better representations of your vision.” Recently, Wymer was selected from a large applicant pool to participate in a commercial art project with Sheetz, Inc. and has done much of his work on this project in front of his students as they work on their own projects. He comments, “I think it has been helpful for our students to see and understand the commercial applications of art. I do art because I love it. Opportunities like this allow me the financial ability to continue to pursue my passion in art. The thought of sharing my art and particular vision on a large scale is both humbling and thrilling.”
Our students are also encouraged to share their creations as our students regularly display to the public through our close work with the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax, Virginia. This association allows our students to rub shoulders with the vibrant art scene of this area and to receive feedback.
Our students and their teacher share in the creative energy and examples of technique on display as Wymer works on his own pieces. He was recently profiled for his work with Sheetz, a popular and iconic brand of gas station/coffee shop/convenience stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. We are very proud that he is representing Oak Hill Academy through his success in the commercial art world and would like to share a video detailing his work with Sheetz and his approach to teaching, and making, art.