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Starry-Eyed for Clarksville’s Public Art Trail

Clarksville, Tennesee, recently unveiled the 21st piece in its downtown public art trail.

Clarksville's Starry Night by artist Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun is a 60-by-40-foot mural of the Clarksville skyline, rendered in the style of Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night.

The mural showcases iconic Clarksville buildings Customs House Museum and Cultural Center and the Montgomery County Courthouse beneath the renowned starry night sky depicted in van Gogh's work.

The new mural is one of many art pieces showcased along Clarksville's city streets and urban trails, on buildings and throughout the campus of Austin Peay State University. At least 12 of the artworks are easily walkable within the city's downtown core.

"Public art is a prime example of a community that is living, breathing and thriving," said Ryan Bowie, executive director of downtown Clarksville's Roxy Regional Theatre and chair of the Downtown Clarksville Association. "Our various pieces of public art have always been—and will continue to be—the icing on the cake for downtown residents and visitors alike."

Many of the art pieces were designed or created by local artists and tell the story of the city's history and people.

The sculpture The Day After by Scott Wise depicts a man reading a newspaper on a park bench the day after an F3 tornado tore through Clarksville. The newspaper he's reading is a replica of the January 23, 1999, edition of The Leaf Chronicle. The news outlet, located directly across the street from the statue, sustained severe damage during the tornado, yet still went to press the following day.

Bursting with Pride by Ricky Deel is a 10,000-square-foot mural depicting 15 buildings of historical and architectural significance that were damaged by the tornado.

There are also a number of pieces dedicated in memory of United States veterans. Pillar of Cloud, Pillar of Fire by Greg Schlanger is dedicated to all soldiers of all wars. A constant burning flame sits on top of the monument, a 30-foot-tall steel pillar of four beams, to symbolize a beacon of light to guide soldiers home in this life or the afterlife.

Clarksville's Starry Night will not be the final piece on Clarksville's public art trail. More projects are in various phases of production.

Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.


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