A HIGHLIGHT on the Arts calendar in the region, the Scone Art Prize is an annual exhibition eagerly anticipated by artists and audiences alike.
An exceptional list of winners are announced each year, revealing the diversity of artistic passion and talent in the district.
With an increase across the board in prize money, bringing the total to $11,500, the committee are looking forward to an even bigger response in 2019.
Scone Arts & Crafts secretary Roger Skinner said so far more than 150 entries from as far away as Queensland have been received.
"We've changed a number of the prizes from $500 to $1000 each, which generally brings the artists out of the woodwork and we like to see the artists coming out of the woodwork," he added.
"So we're looking forward to a gangbuster show this year."
The highly sought after Bobbie Paradice Prize, worth $5000, returns in 2019 and the final decision will come down to judge Maree Skene from the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
"The main prize is an Open Section sponsored by David Paradice, Bobbie Paradice's son and she's our patron so he's come on board with that sponsorship which has been absolutely excellent," Mr Skinner said.
The wide range of sections also includes the Frans Kernker Memorial Prize for any artwork from all sections by an artist residing in the Upper Hunter or Muswellbrook Shires which was first introduced in 2018, worth $2500.
The remaining four sections, worth $1000 each for 1st prize, include Watercolour/Pastel, Print or Drawing, Miniature and Sculpture/Ceramics.
The Watercolour and Pastel sections have been combined this year due to low entries.
Mr Skinner said entries close Friday, August 16.
"Invariably there are some people who have an excuse for a late entry and we tend to take them, we don't knock them back," he added.
Extensive renovations are currently underway in the back hall of the Scone Arts & Crafts Centre in preparation for the big night.
"The windows have been blocked off and we've put a hanging system in so we can have continuous paintings all the way around the wall and painting got underway this week," Mr Skinner added.
The official opening and awards night of the 55th Scone Art Prize is on Friday September 6 from 6.30pm at the Scone Arts & Crafts Centre, 63 Kingdon St, Scone.
Entry is $15 and can be paid at the door on the night.
Refreshments sponsored by Savannah Wines and Hunterbelle Cheese are available on the night as you see the art and cheer the winners.
Following the opening night, the Scone Art Prize exhibition is open daily until September 15 for $2 entry and artwork is available for purchase.
For more information visit the Scone Arts & Crafts Facebook Page.