It’s a parent’s nightmare: A 5-year-old boy in Overland Park, Kansas, knocked over and broke an artwork displayed in a community center. But it wasn’t just any artwork: It was a one-of-a-kind mosaic sculpture worth $132,000.
Sarah Goodman told the Kansas City Star that her family was attending a wedding reception May 19 at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center when her son “probably hugged” the piece. She told the newspaper the piece was unprotected and that she was “stunned” to receive a letter from Travelers insurance company stating the value of the piece and requesting her insurance information.
Surveillance video obtained by the Star shows two children repeatedly touching the statue as adults walk around them or sit in the room chatting. When it finally falls, the boy shown appears to have partially climbed it.
Goodman could not be immediately reached for comment. She told the Star she and her husband did not see the accident but they did see the badly damaged statue afterward.
“All the city did was file an insurance claim,” Overland Park communications manager Sean Reilly told CNET in an email. “We are treating this like any other piece of publicly financed city property when it is damaged. For instance, if a street light, traffic signal, police or fire vehicle (is damaged), we work through our insurance carrier who contacts the other party’s insurance carrier to seek payment.
“We are NOT seeking payment from the family,” Reilly said. “Our carrier is simply wanting to contact their insurance provider. If we do not seek payment from their carrier, taxpayers’ money will be used to compensate the artist.”
The artwork is titled Aphrodite di Kansas City, and can be seen in photos taken before the accident on artist William Lyons’ website. A document provided by the city of Overland Park describes the work as “glass with miniature brick” and confirms the $132,000 value. Lyons dd not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I don’t want to diminish the value of their art,” Goodman told the Star last week. “But I can’t pay for that.”
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