TAMWORTH'S visual art collection has had a huge boost with more than 70 new works added to the gallery's bounty.
Included among the 78 acquisitions for last year are the iconic Big Golden Guitar statue and a portrait called 'Charlotte', which Tamworth councillor Juanita Wilson said is a personal favourite.
"It's really important to keep the gallery moving and expanding because it's a source of inspiration for the population and it's a source of inspiration for young children, and at times, I think it's a place for solitude and motivation for older people too," Cr Wilson said.
The new artworks were gifted, bought or bequeathed in 2019 and were formally accepted by Tamworth councillors last week.
'Friends of the Gallery' also purchase artwork to be showcased locally.
Cr Wilson said the gallery had a "significant" year with donations and acquisitions.
"The soul of a city rests in its culture, I think," she said.
"Tamworth is the oldest regional art gallery in NSW and we celebrated our centenary last year, so we've actually got a significant and conspicuous cultural history brought about by the gallery."
Among an array of visual works from local artists and further afield, one particular portrait stands out for Cr Wilson.
'Charlotte' is a painting of an older woman in Murrurundi, created by David Darcy, which toured in the 2018 Archibald Prize collection.
"She's painted in all her bright colours and sinewy skin and she's looking like she'd flatten you if you said something rude to her," Cr Wilson said.
"There's quite a lot of history to that artwork."
The Big Golden Guitar, which stands on the New England Highway and pays homage to Tamworth as the country music capital, was gifted to the gallery by the Coultan family.
"It's a very generous donation because essentially, that's probably the most visual icon of Tamworth," Cr Wilson said.
She said there's other art in the mix that challenges traditional gender roles and showcases work from other cultures and backgrounds.
"Art is to promote conversation and often conversation is promoted when the artwork is controversial, so it gives people a freedom to express their ideas," she said.
Most of the artworks will be stored at Tamworth Regional Gallery. The displays are rotated and the works often go on tour to other regional galleries.