Spotlight on Seniors: 2024 Graffiti Wall Artist Corinne Fisk Stevens Depicts Joy and Community

Photograph of Corinne Stevens standing in front of her design on the Graffiti Wall.

Since Scripps’ founding, beginning with its very first graduating class in 1931, Scripps seniors have decorated the Graffiti Wall adjacent to the College’s iconic Rose Garden with phrases and imagery commemorating the events that have defined their years attending Scripps. Each year, one senior is chosen to design a class mural for the wall. This year’s senior is Corinne Stevens ’24, a Classics major from Massachusetts.

Describing herself as a passionate artist, Stevens says, “I have sold my art on campus at various art markets and worked to incorporate creativity and fine arts into as many of my courses as possible throughout my time here. During my first year at Scripps when classes were remote due to COVID-19, I painted a huge mural on the wall in my childhood bedroom, and it’s surreal now as a senior to be painting the mural on the Graffiti Wall!”

According to Stevens, her mural—which depicts a procession of robed graduates exiting the Ella Denison Strong Library and gathering in a circle—represents “matriculation and the moment in which the ritual comes full circle as the graduates come out through the east doors (the same doors they used to enter the library to sign the class book).”

Stevens reflects on the once-in-a-lifetime fond memory of her class’s matriculation. “It was particularly special because it was the first time we all met in person. I remember dancing with my classmates all night and meeting so many of my best friends. In my mural, I focused on the themes of celebration and community, reflecting on how we first came to Scripps and where we’ve ended up.”

In creating and executing her design for the mural, Stevens considered a wide variety of factors. “For one, I have always thought that the older murals featuring the processions of expressive stick figure graduates were so charming and sweet. For my mural, I wanted to modernize it a bit and infuse my own passions as well. This year, my thesis was titled ‘Pottery and Processional Performance: A Contemporary Application of Ancient Athenian Ritual at Scripps College.’ For that thesis, I processed local red clay and manufactured a black-figure amphora (an ancient oil vessel) depicting a slightly altered version of my mural design. This vessel will be used to serve Scripps olive oil at the dinner dance following the graduation ceremony.”

Through her thesis work on ancient Athenian potters, Stevens found that “there is an immense sense of connection and pride associated with being chosen by your community to memorialize important events.” This finding was echoed in her experience with designing the Graffiti Wall. She continues, “I spent the entire year researching Scripps traditions for my thesis, so to then be voted to be an integral part of a ritual here was incredible. During Reunion Weekend I also met two wall artists from years prior, one from the 90s and the other the mid-2000s, with whom I connected over our shared experience.”

It was important to Stevens that her mural reflected the uniqueness and beauty of Scripps’ campus and the jubilation of her fellow graduates—and, further, she wanted the design to honor the participation of queer Scripps students in Scripps’ traditions. As she says, “When I did the mural design, I wanted to emphasize the joy of the graduates and brainstormed different poses to convey that, as well as studying the details of the Denison Library that make it so beautiful and instantly recognizable. As a queer woman in a relationship with another Scrippsie, I wanted to represent the large number of LGBTQ+ community members we have as well as the friendships I depicted.”

Stevens views her mural as a unique, distinct entry in a chain of shared works connecting Scripps classes through time. “I hope people make the connection between mine and the older murals that have similar motifs, but also note the differences as well. I wanted the graduates to have this sense of unbridled joy, love, and community, as they dance, jump, wave, and throw oranges. I feel this is such a wonderful representation of the class. The signatures people expressed themselves with really bring it together.”