Updated 11:26 p.m. April 30
Sarasota's "Unconditional Surrender" statue is set to leave the Bayfront.
Tom Hughes' crane service had driven from Wimauma to lower and remove the aluminum cast statue Thursday evening for repairs for the 26-foot tall kissing couple. It was expected to be removed Thursday evening, but instead the statue has laid on its side over the weekend.
Kathleen Mary Callender, 61, of Longboat Key drove her 2010 Mercedes Benz E350 crashed into it Thursday at 11:53 a.m. Callender had a medical emergency, according to police, and lost control of her vehicle. She was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for her injuries. Callender will not be charged due to experiencing a medical issue that caused the crash, according to the report.
The driver traveled northbound on US 41 and crossed the median and southbound lane and into the statute.
The City’s public art liaison determined the statue has "significant fractures jeopardizing its structural integrity," according to the city. A chunk of the sailor's foot could be seen missing and cracks were contained throughout the statue.
Police estimated damages at $600,000 on their report for the statue and another $50 for damaging shrubs, according to the crash report.
The statue is expected to be sent to New Jersey for repairs, and is insured for $560,000, Bay News 9 reports:
"Larry Thompson, the President of Ringling College of Art and Design and member of the group that insures the sculpture, said they’re now trying to figure out how bad the damage is and how it happened.
“I have to say I was absolutely shocked,” said Thompson. “It was placed so that no one would run into it. It was not in a position to be run into and having a car go into that island and media strip was just unheard of.”
The car wasn't removed from the structure until early Thursday evening.
The Sarasota Arts Foundation, insurance company and the owner will determine the process to follow to repair the statue.
“Unconditional Surrender” is on loan to the City of Sarasota.
The statue celebrates Victory in Japan Day and is a copy of the iconic LIFE magazine photo of V-J Day in Times Square. A Chinese foundry had casted the piece and the sculpture has left and returned to the Bayfront throughout the years whether for maintenence or insistance of groups to keep the statue there.
The statue first came to Sarasota in 2005 from the Sarasota Season of Sculpture exhibit.
Local arts experts told Patch that the piece is actually cast aluminum and not fiberglass unlike the original, causing the material to be brittle.
A WordPress blog, which has the same name of the statue, "Unconditional Surrender," reviews all the twists and turns of the sculpture's past:
"Only original art qualifies for Sarasota public art, but an effort has been initiated to raise funds to purchase a copy of the statue in order to have it placed permanently on the bay front. At the end of the fourth SSOS display Unconditional Surrender returned to our bay front, only this time as a copy made from cast aluminum bearing a $675,000 price tag. Again the art board was not permitted to review or recommend on the replacement of the statue on the bay front. This was in 2006, when Brenda Terris, took over as the new executive director or SSOS.
An anonymous donor offered to purchase a bronze copy of the statue for $860,000 and donate it to the city, but the offer was withdrawn because of the copyright infringement issue between Johnson and the copyright holders, Getty Foundation and Time-Life Inc."
Eventually anonymous donors came forward to purchase the piece and request its placement at Gulfstream Avenue and U.S. 41., according to the website.
It's unclear if the statue can be repaired, or will return.
Stay with Patch for further updates.