TAMWORTH was painted in a different light this weekend as it became the centre of the arts world.
Hundreds of arts industries heavies descended on the city as Tamworth flexed its creative muscles for the third iteration of Artstate.
The "hybrid beast" conference and festival is the brainchild of Regional Arts NSW with the objective of highlighting the diversity of art and people beyond the big smoke.
Regional Arts NSW chief executive officer Elizabeth Rogers said Tamworth's event showed off the best of the entire New England North West region.
"It is a four-year project for Regional Arts NSW and the whole point of it is to demonstrate that excellence exists in arts practice in regional NSW," she said.
"It was also to demonstrate to delegates from all across the state the different landscapes in which we work.
"Particularly, the ones from larger metropolitan areas that don't always get out in to the country.
"You can cross the Blue Mountains and it is not all plains and salt bush."
The new performing arts project is a very strong demonstration of where we are at at the moment.
There was an enormous variety of performances and exhibition across the weekend, from theatre, music, visual and cross-medium projects. Tamworth has been preparing for the event for about a year.
With a huge opportunity to showcase the city's, and region's, arts sector, Tamworth Regional Council also released the business case for a proposed $128.2 million performing arts precinct.
The centre would need significant funding commitments from the state and federal governments to become a reality.
There wasn't a funding announcement forthcoming at the event.
But the mayor Col Murray said the city had staked its claim.
"The new performing arts project is a very strong demonstration of where we are at at the moment," Cr Murray said.
"The $128 million price tag it is quite an ambitious project but this was a great opportunity to demonstrate to the broader community what the arts means to Tamworth."
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Wagga was announced as the final host of Artstate for next year.
"Wagga Wagga is the perfect host for the fourth and final Artstate," NSW parliamentary secretary for the arts Ben Franklin said.
The story City shows its beating art and stakes claim as creative hub first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.