Tower at Glendale

Professor John Lane's Glendale Graffiti Project beginning March 2009 



A few weeks ago I took my environmental humanities class to Glendale Shoals and asked them to “inventory” graffiti on the old bridge, under the bridge, and on the rocky shoals below.

Of course it makes sense to ask the class to sort the tags into categories, or apply other “methods” to the project as a sociologist might, but I kept asking myself, “What might a literary or artistic humanist do with local graffiti?”

So when we returned to campus I asked the class to consider ways in which environmental humanities students might look creatively rather than critically at existing Glendale graffiti. Here is what they came up with:


We should write short fictional pieces about the most interesting pieces of graffiti. Who made the graffiti, why they made it, when they made it, what it means, etc. We could make some really interesting back stories! 

–Jill Hauserman  




We could take a few pieces of the less vulgar graffiti, blow the, up and post them on cardboard. We could then post the “graffiti pieces” around campus on the walls with a small description of the community study of Glendale that we are participating in and how one can learn about a community through studying the surrounding graffiti. Another idea is to take all the graffiti pictures and make them into a collage. We could then also post this collage on poster board and hang it in a certain area of campus with a description of our project underneath. I think it would be fun to let the campus know about the unique study of Glendale that we are participating in. I also think a collage would be a great way to combine all of our pictures and show the contrasts between the religion, vulgar, and other categories of graffiti that was found. -Anna Post

To showcase what we learned from our graffiti project, I suggest that we have an exhibition. Perhaps it is the artist coming out in me, but I believe that an exhibit is a wonderful format to showcase an artwork or project. We could have select photographs printed, hung and put up. Perhaps along with these, our class could use selective portions from our graffiti reports and have them under photographs and around the exhibit to make the exhibit personal to our class. An opening with some of the class, or all the class, giving a brief, yet innovative and informative presentation would be wonderful for the Wofford community as well. -Krista Jones



An interesting way graffiti could be used is for campaigning ideas (whether it be politics, values, or beliefs). -Nate Page

It might be a neat idea, since we classified at least one of the photos as art, to petition for a time period in the Campus Life Building where we could display some of our best photos. There is always really cool new art in a hallway on the main floor and they might be interested in letting us set up some of ours. I don’t know who we would have to get in touch with to get permission or reserve the next opening, but it would be a fun way to get Glendale out there. I don’t really know how out there they want to be, but it seems like a good idea to me. –Alex Dunmire



We should all pick 10 or so that we like the best and have the students at Wofford vote on their favorite. After the voting has been done, we should use the winning graffiti as some sort of symbol of the ENVS program. Make T-shirts. Make it a symbol for something. Something with significance so that the first project stays with the program from the first day on site. –Keaton Thompson

We should upload the pictures onto a website, and separate them into two categories: one with aesthetically or semi-aesthetically appealing graffiti, and one with vulgar words or images. Obviously, you don’t want to include any unnecessarily vulgar words or images, but that column should include images that evoke anger and even offend some people. Then, there should be a discussion board/forum in which people can discuss the difference between acceptable graffiti and unacceptable graffiti, or if acceptable graffiti even exists. Another cool thing to do would be to upload an image of one of the unaltered shoals, and some how create a feature in which visitors to the site can doodle on the rock with different colors, and essentially create their own graffiti online. Maybe this way they could get their fix with out going to Glendale and defacing the real shoals. -Tom Fenner



It would be cool to collect 5-10 of the best shots in each category we discussed in class. I think the best way to get the graffiti circulating would be to set up a blog account or something like that. We could set up a blogspot page and put the link on the Environmental Studies webpage. -A. Randolph Smith

We could put them to a beat of hip hop or rap? Speeding up the the slides…slowing them down … etc. -Ingrid Lesemann



My first idea with the graffiti pictures is to select one of interest and create a short fictional story about it. This would require us, as humanities students, to create characters and a dramatic situation in which the graffiti would have been created. In doing so, I think we will discover a lot of truths in the graffiti we have found at Glendale. Stepping back from the situation and our initial opinions about the graffiti through creating a short story, would require us to think about the meaning of Glendale to the graffiti artists. Professor Cox would be proud of me for this suggestion :) My second suggestion is to write an article for the newspaper (probably Wofford’s), in which we would share some of our most interesting pictures and our interpretations. My last suggestion is to create a mural in some way with the pictures that could be placed inside of Wofford’s new environmental studies building at Glendale. Of course, the idea would be that it would be professional in appearance and framed in a nice manner. It could be a tribute to the first environmental studies class. -Danielle Peoples

We could mix quotes from the books that we are reading in class with the slide show of pictures. There are several great quotes from THE END OF NATURE that we could use. This way, people who are looking at the site can see a little more about what we are doing in class and why we are interested in Glendale Shoals. I also think that we could put music in the background. The graffiti that says “One Love” would go well with the song by Bob Marley. We should make our presentation richer with other artistic expression. -Caitlyn Gilliland



How about a flyer pinned on the post office bulletin board that has the black and white picture of the steal mill and the graffiti in the foreground with the caption “Litter trashes everyone” one the bottom of the flyer. This would make use of the pictures and inform residents that graffiti is unacceptable. Just a thought. -Emily O’Hanalan

It would be neat to somehow connect the graffiti with the website. If we could create some form of blog or something about it, and use these pictures for inspiration of some sort, I think that would be really neat. Also, this would be quite informative for us in that it will allow for us to see how (hopefully) some local people of Glendale feel about the graffiti. -Virginia Lewis

We should print out a group of pictures and make a collage of them to put in our new room at Glendale. If more graffiti comes up, we can take more pictures and keep adding to the collection. -Charlotte Perrow