About 500 people filled the the Warrnambool Art Gallery as the new space was officially reopened on Friday night following the six-month, $750,000 renovation.
Gallery director Vanessa Gerrans said she and her team were exhausted after the marathon process of moving all of the precious items out of the space.
"It was like moving house but 1000 times harder," she said.
"This is an old collection, we are 130 years old and the fifth oldest gallery in Australia.
"We discovered a range of items in this process that we look forward to sharing with the community in the future."
Warrnambool designer Sinead Murphy was very impressed with the redeveloped spaces in the gallery.
"The redesigned spaces will give artists something to explore a bit more deeply. The kids space in particular really appeals to me, and the new show The Bull Cow by Simon Linardi is just wild, it's really cool, fun and accessible," she said.
Ms Murphy said the relaunch showed what could be possible in a bigger gallery.
"There is a limited number of pieces you can show in this space and I think a bigger, more impressive space is on the trajectory of the gallery."
Regional Arts Victoria chief executive officer Joe Toohey said the redevelopment was "brilliant" and highlighted the potential of regional galleries.
"It can often seem unsexy to do the climate control systems and storage systems but to host the world class exhibitions that Warrnambool has now you need to have an environment to safely store and present them, so the potential for what it can show now is really exciting," he said.
"It's not just about the size of the space, but the adequacy of the space for the kind of works it can present professionally."
Warrnambool mayor Tony Herbert described the work undertaken at the gallery as "ballsy".
Mr Herbert received a loud round of applause when he suggested Warrnambool would need a larger gallery in the future.
"We are fortunate in the south-west to have a thriving arts community," he said.
"It contributes immensely to the rich culture of our region, sharing our stories with the local, state and national audiences."
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