We’re always eager to find artists who can translate inspiration into visually captivating works of art. One of those artists is Megan Wells, the creator of the iconic Academy Center of the Arts mural. Megan first worked with clothing and lifestyle brand Anthropologie and then was an art teacher for 6 years before becoming a full-time artist and author.
If you’re local to Lynchburg, Virginia, chances are you’ve seen the mural overlooking Main Street. It’s still as vibrant as it was at its debut in 2013. Yet some are not aware of how monumental this piece of art is to the growing arts
and culture renaissance that is taking place in Downtown Lynchburg.
From Concept to Color
When the Academy Center of the Arts was looking for a local artist who could channel either the local arts and culture community or the beauty of Virginia in the form of a mural, Megan said “why not both?” So, she conceptualized a piece that would highlight the various art mediums featured at the Academy along with the vivid colors of the Blue Ridge Mountains as its backdrop.
Considering there are numerous working components taking place inside the mural’s margins, she made sure the painting had two elements that tied everything together. First, she added one seamless line that would mask itself throughout the painting as a film strip, paint brush and music bar. Then, she added bright accent colors, like green, that would balance the rest of the colors. The end result is a brilliantly vibrant piece of art that is cohesive and is full of movement.
Choosing the Right Paint
Once the sketch was chosen by the Academy, Megan’s next challenge was to find the right paint for the job, one that could last numerous sunny, southern summers. So, she went with James T. Davis. Our exterior paint, like the rest of our collections, is made with high quality, vivid pigmentation, and is formulated to be fade-resistant and long-lasting; a necessary factor for a permanent outdoor art fixture.
The Community Worked Together To Create Art
Though Megan was the brainchild and main contributor to the completion of the mural, she notes that it was not just her that helped make this painting a reality. When locals in the community heard about a mural going up at the Academy, they knew they had to lend their support.
So, volunteers came out to offer assistance through efforts such as painting. Megan also received donations of painting supplies, as well as one local man who lent her his cherry picker so she could reach the top of the mural.
The Mural That Birthed a Local Street Art Revolution
When the mural went up in 2013, no one knew it would signify so much for the Lynchburg community. The mural was made to memorialize a commitment to the arts in Virginia, however it was also foreshadowing in nature; as it forcasted the rapidly growing street art movement that is currently taking place today. It could be argued that the Academy Center of the Arts mural spawned other creatives to pick up their paintbrushes and reimagine the city’s industrial-aged walls with vivid colors and designs.
We see this from the new Daughters and Sons Pizza mural on 5th street to artists like “Bartertown” Bobby Fuller who uses organic, biodegradable materials to create breathtaking (but temporary) pop-up art throughout Lynchburg’s downtown streets.
Staying Inspired Pays Off
When it’s all said and done, it’s continual inspiration and a daring, ambitious individual who can make great pieces of art possible. As for the artist herself, she stays inspired by color and nature. Though she now lives in Florida, she used to love driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway during the fall to take in the plentiful autumn leaf colors. But mainly, she identifies her main source of inspiration as color itself—a love that’s evident in the color choices throughout the mural.
As far as for advice for other creatives in the area, she says, “As an artist, you need to put yourself out there, take risks and trust the outcome.” A quality word of advice that has been echoed by other legendary artists like Henri Matisse, who is well-known for his quote, “Creativity takes courage.”
Whether you’re an avid artist or simply an admirer of art, we’re here to keep you inspired as well as help you paint the town beautifully. We believe that your creative vision and our vibrant paint colors can create stunning works of art together.