ABOUT 150 art-lovers packed into the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre for the exhibition opening of the 2019 Muswellbrook Local Art Awards at the weekend.
The event also doubled as an opportunity to announce the winners in the respective categories.
Officially opened by Muswellbrook Shire mayor Martin Rush, the awards attracted 137 entries.
Choosing the winner and encouragement award in each section proved to be a challenging task for adjudicator Rachael Saunders, who is the director of the Gloucester Art Gallery.
But, she opted for Teresa Byrne's Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow as the top painting, with Raphe Coombes' Life in the Wolgan Valley also commended.
In works on paper, Sue Lawson's Looking for the Light in the Darkness claimed the honours as Rebecca Rath's View from Margan's was acknowledged, too.
Paul Adams prevailed in sculpture with his work, Another World, while Didier Colstoun's Bush Mosque received the encouragement award.
Nadine Chudyk's Old Barraba Railway was the owner of the standout photo, with Roger Skinner's Presence also admired.
In youth, Jordan Martin's Stray Kids - Chan won the coveted prize, ahead of Charlotte Wells' Charlotte's Frida.
"There is clearly an enthusiastic and creative local community [here] that deserves the support they get through the gallery," said Ms Saunders while praising the quality of the entries.
Muswellbrook Local Art Awards 2019
Winner: Teresa Byrne, Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Encouragement: Raphe Coombes, Life in the Wolgan Valley
Works on Paper
Winner: Sue Lawson, Looking for the Light in the Darkness
Encouragement: Rebecca Rath, View from Margan's
Winner: Paul Adams, Another World
Encouragement: Didier Colstoun, Bush Mosque
Winner: Nadine Chudyk, Old Barraba Railway
Encouragement: Roger Skinner, Presence
Winner: Jordan Martin, Stray Kids - Chan
Encouragement: Charlotte Wells, Charlotte's Frida
The Muswellbrook Local Art Awards, along with Act-Belong-Commit PhotoVoice, will be on exhibition until January 12, after which the Archie's come to town, from January 26, as part of the Archibald Prize Regional Tour.