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Local gallery puts nudity debate on display

 Posted: 12:10 PM January 29, 2010

Dip a toe — or even more — into an art show launching tonight that's also part of a debate on Ashland politics.

In response to the city's new ban on public nudity, Ashland City Council member Eric Navickas and his business partner are opening an exhibit of traditional nude portraits and conceptual art involving live, naked people at their gallery downtown.

The exhibit featuring more than 20 nudes is open from 5 to 9 p.m. at the MAda Shell Gallery at 27 1/2 No. 7 N. Main St. on Ashland's plaza.

Clothing will be optional for visitors to the exhibit, the pair said.

Navickas and partner Amy Godard say they planned the show in response to the Ashland City Council's recent decision to outlaw nudity in public places. Previously, the city banned nudity only downtown and in parks.

Earlier this year, some city officials and residents began to call for a ban on nudity after two men were spotted walking naked near schools.

"We feel that the nude ban is not only an attack on freedom of expression but also an attack on the human body itself," Navickas said earlier. "We wanted to have a show to celebrate the nude body and differentiate the nude body from anything indecent."

On their Facebook page, the gallery owners promised a "nude sermon" as part of the evening's events.

— Staff reports