We're not sure who made the bigger mistake: the Parks and Recreation employees who thought the $50,000 piece of art was trash and took it to the city landfill, or the city officials who paid $50,000 for a piece of art that could be mistaken for trash.
Either way, no one is being prosecuted or disciplined, as the action is being called an "honest mistake."
What happened: Albuquerque city workers were asked to clean up and dispose of a cactus that had been knocked over. When they arrived on the scene to take care of the cleanup, they found a statue of a cactus that had been vandalized and was laying on its side. Thinking it was the succulent they'd been instructed to dispose of, they took it to the landfill where it was promptly compacted and buried.
It wasn't until later that the "garbage" they'd disposed of was identified as a fiberglass cactus that had been created by an artist and students participating in a Working Classroom Inc. program funded by the city -- to the tune of $50,000. When the workers saw a television report that said the artwork had been stolen, they went to city authorities and fessed up.
Although the Parks and Recreation employees have been declared innocent of any wrongdoing, they and their co-workers will be asked to read and become familiar with a memo that describes the 650 public art projects installed around the city.