Archibald Prize winner Tim Storrier has told a capacity crowd at Wellington's Macquarie Theatre a very special "silent witness" had seen her dream realised from a better place.
"She (Katie Barton) had a vision she wanted to come through. Though I didn't know her she does live on through the Papillon Collection from beyond the grave," the Wellington-born artist said.
He was speaking at the launch of a local artistic collection dedicated to Katie Barton, a young Wellington woman who passed away before her dreams to inspire and promote local artists could be fully realised.
"I know Katie would be proud of this. It's almost three years to the day when she passed away and she wanted to become an ambassador for local art," her husband Peter Barton said.
Mrs Barton had a mantra "to think, believe, plan and do it," friend Mardi Taylor explained.
"She was a thinker who inspired," she said.
Mrs Barton was described as a smart businesswoman with a big-picture vision and Tim Storrier, talking about the Wellington he knew in 1962, was impressed local art was so vibrant.
"The past is a foreign country. I won an art prize at the Wellington show in the 1960s and the Macquarie Theatre was a cinema then," he said.
"Katie Barton would be so amazed at how it looks now."
Earlier in the day a plaque and a seat dedicated to Mrs Barton were placed in Wellington's Swift Street plaza.
Money for the memorial was donated by the former Percy Street Harvest Festival Group to assist.
"This vision was from a small group in a small town who were passionate about Wellington," organiser Sarah Fergusson told a group of people who came to see the opening.
The mayor, Cr Rod Buhr, said that without people like Katie Barton in their lives at towns like Wellington, life would not would be so benign.
"We have so many inspirational people in this town and this will serve as a great memory to her," he said.
Peter Barton agreed.
"I walk the kids to school and sometimes we'll stop, sit and think about her here," he said.
Phoebe Maroulis from the Macquarie Theatre said the plaque was a sign of a new council with new energy and a symbol of support for the community.