The Cowra Regional Art Gallery proudly opened its doors to the annual upstART exhibition and awards on Saturday, November 25.
This longstanding tradition marks nearly two decades of celebrating the creative talent of local students in Stages 5 and 6.
Brian Langer, a representative from the gallery, expressed immense pride in the continued support from schools and teachers that has made this exhibition a recurring success.
"It's about 19 years since the gallery has been representing local students at this time of the year," Mr Langer said.
"We've shown well over 2000 students, including this year. This isn't achieved without teachers and the schools themselves. Without their support and assistance, we wouldn't be able to hold this."
Mr Langer commended the development visible from years 9 to year 12, noting the growth showcased in this year's exhibition.
"I'd like to congratulate everyone who's a part of this exhibition," he said.
Deputy Mayor Paul Smith, also present at the event, acknowledged the significant effort put forth by the gallery staff to present the exhibition in its exceptional form.
"These things don't just happen," Cr Smith said.
"The staff and the gallery have put in a huge effort for this to be presented as it is. It evolves as you go through, and we're very fortunate to have this."
Expressing pride in the exhibited students, Cr Smith highlighted the surprising consistency in quality across different age groups.
"One of the things I couldn't get over is that you would have expected such a large difference between the quality with the students, and that's not so," he said.
"The talent displayed here of these young people is second to none."
The exhibition, known for its diverse range of styles and mediums, showcases experimental and creative approaches in painting, ceramics, mixed media, photography, and sculpture.
"It's amazing to see that art through this region is still well and alive," Cr Smith said.
The upstART exhibition and awards, a collaborative effort between the Cowra Regional Art Gallery and high schools in the Central West, continues through the month of December.