BUNDABERG has transformed from the "cultural desert" it was once referred to by some since the successful opening of a nude-only exhibition.
Just Nudes opened at the Dirty Linen Art Space to a curious crowd of almost 200 on Friday night.
"We couldn't believe the numbers that turned up," spokeswoman Gaye Tait said.
"People were very receptive to it and there was lots of positive feedback."
The eye-catching exhibition, which features sketches, paintings, photographs and textile designs of the naked body in all its forms, was put together by Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery volunteers, and featured the works of seven artists.
It follows the artistic debacle in September last year, when vision-impaired artist Dennis Mealor had one of his naked entries pulled from the Bundaberg Arts Festival for being too controversial.
But all of Mr Mealor's 29 nude photographs were hanging proudly at Dirty Linen this week, much to the delight of the artist.
"I'm elated," he said.
"I'm glad Dirty Linen is more out there and willing to push the envelope.
"(The Arts Festival) was a stressful thing at the time but it's all worked out positively."
Despite this, Mrs Tait stressed the Just Nudes project was well in the pipeline before the Arts Festival, with planning beginning about two months before.
"This was in no way connected to the arts festival or what happened to Dennis," she said.
"It really didn't inspire us to put this on.
"We're not angry at anyone - we just wanted to depict nude in our artwork and show the beauty of the human body."
Among the gallery visitors this week included Wendy Francis, the president of the Bundaberg Arts Festival who, at the time, was involved in removing Mr Mealor's piece from the show.
"By and large, I was most impressed," she said.
"We've invited a couple of the artists to contribute to the Arts Festival in September."
Mrs Francis said the standouts of the exhibition included charcoal life study sketches and also a couple of photographs by Trish Shepherd.
"The quality of the photographs was stunning," she said.
The exhibition runs until 2pm today.
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