The Day After
299 Commerce Street, Clarksville, TN 37040
The Day After, also known as “The Seated Piece,” created by Clarksville firefighter and sculptor, Scott Wise, is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Commerce and Second Streets in downtown Clarksville.
The statue was commissioned by Main Street Clarksville and was the last piece of public art sponsored by the group. Wise states that the group got the idea of having a seated figure from similar works created by sculptor Seward Johnson who has works in most major United States cities. The Day After refers to Jan. 23, 1999, the day after a tornado struck downtown Clarksville.
The statue of a man reading a newspaper is placed on a park bench and the front page of the paper is a replica of the January 23, 1999 edition of The Leaf Chronicle. The Leaf-Chronicle, which is located directly across Commerce Street from the statue, sustained severe damage during the tornado; yet still found a way to publish the following day.
The statue was originally molded from clay and submitted for approval by the board of Main Street Clarksville. Once approval was obtained, the statue was cast in rubber and wax before it was cast in bronze. There was room purposefully left on the bench for people to sit next to the statue. The statue’s face was left very nondescript and described by the artist as “Joe Public” to avoid the appearance of it looking too much like any one person.
Wise found working on this statue very liberating because there was so little oversight on the finer details of the statue. A local printing company is responsible for the transfer of the actual front page of the Leaf Chronicle from newspaper, via a rubber stamp, to the clay model that was bronzed.
The statue was unveiled during a public ceremony on Oct. 30, 2003. After it’s unveiling, Main Street Clarksville donated the statue to Montgomery County because it sits on county land.
by Eric Martin