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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Students Speak: Guerrilla Art


Guerrilla art is a form of art making where art pieces are anonymously displayed in public spaces, typically to incite a reaction within a community. At Grinnell College, there is no need to look farther than the walls of the Burling Library bathrooms or the windows of the South Campus loggia to see the work of anonymous graphic artists and poets. The S&B’s Abraham Teuber [teuberab] and Sarina Lincoln caught up with students in Burling to see what they think of the school’s reputation for elusive installations of guerrilla art.

“I think that with guerrilla art in general, there’s a lot of hesitation with people sharing art with a lot of people, but I feel like [guerrilla art] gives them a way to do so. Even though there’s no way to credit the original person who created it, I feel like it’s a really good way to share different kinds of thoughts.”

— Phinn Lloyd ‘21

“I feel like [the Burling bathroom art] is the biggest generational connection I have with other Grinnellians because I feel like the experience at Grinnell fundamentally changes  … When I read some things, it makes me feel like I can have some connection with people from the past when otherwise I wouldn’t have it.”

— Lily Hamilton ‘19 (Top left in photo, pictured with Ania Chamberlain, Ann Rodgers and Naomi Worob)

“I think one of the harder parts of [guerrilla art] as a form of art is you can’t predict how people will react to it, because you’re not writing an excerpt by it like in an art gallery … for instance, the ‘100 percent of Grinnellians die’ thing, I thought it was kind of funny and a little whimsical, but some people were freaked out by it …”

— Ryland Rich ‘22

“I’m personally a fan [of guerrilla art], I think that especially on campus, it’s hard to see art all the time when juggling a schedule … so when there’s just a bunch of posters, you can’t miss it, that’s for sure. Whether I enjoy [the art] or not, or if it’s controversial, it’s better than not having it there at all because it sparks interest.”

— Elena Voisin ‘19

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