Detagging the town

Southern Mill Complex Grafitti

The Southern Mill complex, home to countless works of local graffiti, will be torn down in order to construct a new Creature Comforts Brewing Company brewery. Freshman Mackenzie Caudill believes that while the new location will benefit the town, the destruction of this spot will take it’s toll on the graffiti community. Photos by Mackenzie Caudill.



Staff writer Mackenzie Caudill revisits the topic of graffiti culture when a major, salient painting spot in Athens has plans of being torn down.

The Creature Comforts Brewing Company will construct a new brewery to be located in what now is the historic Southern Mill complex (The Mill).

I understand the positive impact adding another location for an Athens-based company will have on the town. In a press release, the company stated that the new location will “create 25 new jobs in the Athens community over the next five years.”

The company was brought attention to our town when they, along with four other companies, were recognized by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Economic Developers Association because they “contribute greatly to our economy and are a prime reason that Georgia is the number one state in the nation in which to do business for a third consecutive year. This further proves the company’s impact and success.

The expansion will allow for 40,000 square feet of space and storage for the successful and impactful local business but I can’t help but mourn what will be lost in construction.

Where there is positive impact economically, there is a simultaneously equal, if not greater negative impact on the town’s artistic culture. Painting spots are already limited and now one of the largest spots with the most works of art is being taken away.

We’ve lost a platform for expression.

Aside from the painting location, the graffiti artists themselves who contributed to that environment are most likely not feeling a deep loss. They’re used to it. Works get painted over. Works are forgotten. That’s the culture.

But I feel the loss.

I feel loss on behalf of people who were never able to explore. No longer will one be able to walk around those buildings and see what it has to show. It simply won’t exist anymore. The works of art that helped shape my love for graffiti won’t exist anymore.

Realizing this made me want to gather up everything I could from that place, so I could hold it close to my heart and never let go.

I most likely won’t see anything from The Mill in person again. With that thought in the back of my mind, seeing everything again somehow made every piece slightly cooler, prettier and brighter.

I don’t want it to be gone, but there’s nothing I can do about it. All I can do is try to capture it in my memory. For many, once the Creature Comforts brewery opens, the Southern Mill will be a distant memory.

However, I will always remember The Mill and what it held in its paint-littered walls.

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