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Kansas Family Forced To Pay $132,000 After Kid Breaks ‘Public Art’ Installation

By  Emily Zanotti

A Kansas family who lost sight of their son for mere moments may now owe a community center more than $130,000, according to WGN News.

Sarah Goodman and her family were at a wedding at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center last month when she briefly lost sight of her five year old son. Suddenly, she says, she heard yelling — a Community Center employee screaming “Where is your mother?”

When she ran to investigate, she found her five year old son had “hugged” a mosaic bust of a Greek goddess and had toppled the statue off its base, leaving it broken on the floor. Surveillance footage captured the incident, showing the small boy throwing his arms around the statue before it tumbles to the ground almost on top of him.

But what should have been an unfortunate incident turned into a major story when Goodman found out that the bust wasn’t just a piece of public art, but a priceless sculpture entitled, “Aphrodite di Kansas City” by artist Bill Lyons — and it cost a whopping $132,000.

“This glass mosaic torso is laying on the ground and someone is following me around demanding my personal information,” Goodman told local media. “‘Maybe this is like 800 or something.’ No, it’s $132,000!”

The city’s insurance company sent the Goodmans a bill for the full price of the statue, claiming that they were negligent in not closely supervising their young children. The statue, it turns out, was “on loan to the city,” and they aren’t happy that someone at a party knocked it over.

“There’s a societal responsibility that you may not interact with it if it’s not designed for interaction,” a city official told WGN.

The Goodmans say they had no idea the art was expensive, and that something that precious should have been placed behind glass or marked with a “do not touch” sign. Standing alone and unsecured in a hallway, the statue was a safety hazard.

“My children are well-supervised, but all people get distracted,” Goodman told reporters.

“It’s in the main walkway,” she added about the statue. “Not a separate room, not plexiglas, not protected, not held down.”

For now, the family says they aren’t paying the bill, and they’re waiting to see whether the city takes legal action.

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