Sculpture worth $12,000 destroyed in Adrian


ADRIAN, Michigan (WTVG) – A sculpture worth an estimated $12,000 was destroyed over the weekend in Adrian and police say they now know the person responsible.

According to Adrian Police, the statue was destroyed on Saturday night on Maumee Street in downtown Adrian when it was toppled. Witnesses later identified the person responsible, however, police have yet to release that person’s name pending formal charges.

“Oh, I was heartbroken and still am,” said Ken Thompson, co-owner of Flatlanders Sculpture Supply and Art Gallery in Blissfield. “It’s a shame that this happened.”

Thompson also leads the Midwest Sculpture Initiative, which works to place outdoor art in cities across the region.

“We started about 20 years ago doing these outdoor sculpture exhibits and it was my personal desire to have more opportunities to exhibit my work,” Thompson explained. “We started doing that and it sort of snowballed, and there were a number of years where we were doing 20 a year.”

Adrian’s sculpture was one of ten on display in the city and was part of the Midwest Sculpture Initiative.

“This piece was crafted by Mark Chatterley, who is a nationally and internationally known sculptor from Williamston, Michigan,” Thompson said. “It was a pile of people sitting on top of each other in the thinker’s pose.”

Thompson said Chatterley likely spent more than 100 hours working on the sculpture, which was displayed outside the Croswell Opera House a month ago.

“The damage was quite extensive and it was broken down into a few large chunks and a number of smaller chunks,” said Eric Gabel, Marketing Manager of Croswell Opera House. “You hate to see someone’s artwork, but especially someone who has just poured their time, expertise and heart into it, to be treated this way.”

Thompson collected a few pieces that were salvageable, but he said the rest of the ceramic sculpture was a loss.

“The fact that people feel they need to interact with art in a negative way bothers me to no end,” he said. “You don’t have to watch it and move on.”

Recently, a man protesting against climate change threw a cake at the Mona Lisa on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Meanwhile, Adrian’s police say there was no specific reason for destroying the ceramic sculpture, and alcohol played a role in the decision to topple it.

“That sculpture didn’t do anything to this young man, just like the Mona Lisa didn’t do anything to the person with the cake,” Thompson said. “If you don’t like it, you don’t like it, but you don’t need to act against it.”

The case has been referred to the Lenawee County District Attorney who will make a final decision on the charges against the individual, according to police.

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