The Graffiti Wall: A Scripps College Tradition

Lauren Marler ’24
Staff Writer

The rose garden graffiti wall is a remarkable part of the Scripps College campus. Since 1931, a graduating student from each class has designed a mural to represent their cohort of Scripps students, which is then signed by all members of the graduating class.

The designs range from class inside jokes to political messages: for example “stop the war” was spray-painted on the wall by the class of 1970. Each design is a remnant of history from the time it was painted. These designs were cataloged in 2007 when Rainer and Zebala Partners carried out a mural conservation treatment to fix existing damage due to water and time, as well as ensure the longevity of the graffiti wall for years to come. In their report, designs from 65 graduating classes were found on the wall.

The class of 2022’s graffiti wall design was announced in an email to seniors on April 18. Seniors previously submitted sketches of their designs to be voted on, and a design by Grace Tomblin Marca ’22 was selected. Marca’s sketch shows friends sitting around a table on Elm Tree Lawn, with the words “Together Again” written at the bottom of the mural. This design signifies the class of 2022’s return to campus after the pandemic and the strong community that they have created since.

When thinking of ideas for her design, Marca asked herself the same questions that many of the past graffiti wall artists likely asked themselves: “What is the legacy of the class of 2022, and what do we want to be remembered for?”

Much of the class of 2022’s college experience has been shaped by the pandemic. But instead of creating a design involving masks or another less positive representation of the past two years, Marca chose to focus on the joy of being united again. “We were the first class to leave, then come back, and get to graduate from campus,” said Marca. “That’s really special.”

Marca chose the location of Elm Tree Lawn for her design as it signifies a space for community. “As a sophomore, Elm Tree Lawn was roped off and not a seating area at all,” she said. “And now, the fairy lights are so lovely and it’s become a hub of the campus just this year. Outdoor dining was one of the compromises that we’ve made due to COVID, and we made it this really beautiful thing.”

Marca shared that the pandemic taught us not to take being together and being on campus for granted. “I felt like that image and that landmark on campus (Elm Tree Lawn) really embodied all of that,” she said.

As a dual major in art and theater, Marca is excited to take on the graffiti wall project at the end of her senior year. She hasn’t had many opportunities to paint murals and is eager for the new experience. During commencement week, Marca will paint her design on the graffiti wall, and the members of the senior class will be able to leave their mark on the campus before going their separate ways.

Image Source: Annika Ragnartz ’22 and Grace Tomblin Marca ’22