The Manning Regional Art Collection is one of 30 regional collections in the state and holds more than 320 works. it is an important cultural asset for the community of the MidCoast.
The first local government initiated acquisitive Art Prize in this area was conducted by the Taree Municipal Council in the old Council Chambers on the corner of Albert and Manning Streets in 1954.
This event was initiated by the late Mary Hunter OAM, with strong support from the then Town Clerk, the late Clyde Powditch MBE. From 1976, the Art Show was supported by Council and organised by the Mid North Coast Art Society (now known as Taree Artist Inc), yet the tradition of holding it in the carpark continued until 1987. This collection has grown since 1955 into a strong portfolio of work of over 320 works, which is a significant cultural asset for the MidCoast community. The majority of works since 1988 have been donated to the collection through the Frank Saxby Bequest, The Friends of the Manning Regional Art Gallery via the acquisitive prize of the biennial Manning Art Prize, personal donations of artworks from community members and donations by artists. The Cultural Gifts Program also encourages gifts of culturally significant items to go to public art galleries, museums and libraries by offering donors a tax deduction for the market value of the gift. Through this program, the Manning Regional Art Gallery has acquired works from a variety of fabulous artists including Judy Cassab, Ken Done, Neil Frazer, and Robert Malherbe.