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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — One woman's treasure became another man's trash.

A piece of artwork installed near Main Street was accidentally discarded this week by a "clean team" worker for a city development group helping to sponsor an art exhibition.

The artist, Leslie Rech, called the mistake "the worst thing that's happened in my career."

The artwork, part of an installation art show called "Accessibility Columbia: Making History on Main Street," consisted of about 300 eggshells and a handmade dress. Rech installed it Sunday.

Heavy winds on Monday must have blown down the dress, said Matt Kennell, executive director for City Center Partnership. On Tuesday, a member of the group's cleanup crew mistook the artwork for trash and threw it away.

"What he saw was a dress on top of eggshells, so he cleaned it up," Kennell said. "That's his job, to clean stuff out of alleys."

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Kennell said City Center Partnership officials have discussed compensating Rech for the artwork but no details have been worked out.

"We feel terrible about it," he said.

Rech said the piece, called "Anna Dropped Her Basket," was a statement on homelessness and mental illness.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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