The collection features works by key Australian and Hunter-based artists acquired in a number of ways.
Some of the most significant of these were acquired through the City of Lake Macquarie – Charlestown Square Art Prize (1986-1991), charting the themes explored by artists during this dynamic period in Australian art. The works from this sub-collection of the gallery’s holdings represent a generous and visionary gesture by the management of Charlestown Square Shopping Centre of the time, to support the development of a permanent collection for the city.
Thirteen works were acquired, with prize money ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 annually. In 1989 the sponsorship agreement was transferred to the Lend Lease Corporation, who had taken over Charlestown Square. The legacy was a strong beginning to a locally supported regional collection selected by esteemed judges who understood the contemporary art scene and the context for which the works were being acquired.
Charlestown Square Art Prize 1986-1991 Winners
Painting: Marion Borgelt
Drawing: Robert Boynes
Painting: Janet Laurence
Drawing: Gary Willis
Painting: Rodney Pople
Drawing/assemblage: Anthony Galbraith
Painting: Joint winners Lindy Lee and Mark Titmarsh
Drawing: Ruth Waller
Painting: John Smithies
Drawing: Ken Unsworth
Painting: Bernhard Sachs
Drawing: Peter Read