Pastel artist Angela Gerrard has called Beaufort home for 21-years.
Six-months ago the busy working mother of four teenagers moved to practicing art full-time, harnessing the momentum of a town that is growing its identity as a creative hub.
Ms Gerrard will hold her first public exhibition in her own gallery on Sunday which is expected to attract art lovers from the region and beyond.
It is a showcase of a 10-year body of work in a studio that welcomes visitors with a feeling of home - the room is filled with the smell of freshly baked scones baked in the house next door for visitors.
Rich coloured paintings that hang on the walls tell pieces of the story of Ms Gerrard's life - from ballroom dancers to Puffing Billy, orangutans and a racehorse that has a special place in her heart.
I believe you have got to paint what you love and then you get the right expression in your work and the emotion comes through.Angela Gerrard, Beaufort artist
Ms Gerrard said it was exciting practicing art full-time in Beaufort during a period when the community was working to position the town as a creative hub.
"There are so many artists here. As artists we tend to hide away and do our work," she said.
"We are often so busy doing our artwork we don't tell people about it enough. But I think art is a real opening for Beaufort. There are new events and new things all of us as artists are trying to develop that has potential to make Beaufort an arts hub."
Beyond the studios and galleries of individual artists, events and attractions are drawing visitors to the town to admire local art.
The Pyrenees Art Exhibition has been running in Beaufort for 14 years during the Queen's Birthday long weekend, growing to a show of more than 400 pieces.
The Art Trax Gallery in Beaufort opened at the restored old railway station in 2014 and is marketed as an attraction to draw visitors to the town by train.
Members of the Beaufort community are banding together to save the town's old primary school site for community use, including a creative arts and learning centre.
And the Rainbow Arts and Culture Foundation is working to develop the Pyrenees Art and Culture Trail as a further tourist draw-card.
Arts tourism is one of the biggest growth areas globally at the moment.Lynne Donnelly, Rainbow Arts and Culture Foundation
It is a co-ordinated effort to establish Beaufort as a destination in its own right in preparation for the Western Highway bypass.
Beaufort Progress Association president Liza Robinson said Beaufort needed to create and market an identity leading up to the establishment of the bypass.
"The art trail and this amazing sculpture will draw people off the bypass to see it," she said.
The Rainbow Arts and Culture Foundation is working to secure funding to implement stage one of the Pyrenees Art and Culture Trail.
A giant kinetic sculpture is planned to be installed next to the railway station in Beaufort after July this year, followed by a sculpture on top of a silo in Avoca by the end of the year to ignite the concept of the sculpture trail.
Rainbow Arts and Culture Foundation director Lynne Donnelly said the new 'Cradle' sculpture designed by world-renowned artist Alex Sanson would connect with the Koori Art Trail around Beaufort Lake and a new indigenous mural to be installed on the wall next to the Beaufort IGA.
She said the Rainbow Arts and Culture Foundation was set up to harness the creativity we have at Rainbow Serpent festival in a more permanent way across the shire.
"That would be not only great for the shire residents because they have access to innovative permanent art, but also to drive a cultural economy," she said.
"Arts tourism is one of the biggest growth areas globally at the moment. More tourists come to Australia now to access art and culture opportunities than any other form of tourism.
"We want to harness that concept so Beaufort and the shire is ready with new attractions when that bypass comes in."
Plans for the art and culture trail include a yearly temporary sculpture installed at Lexton. The possibilities for other towns will be discussed when further resources are available.
The Rainbow Arts and Culture Foundation has contributed $50,000 to the creation of the Beaufort sculpture and applied for further funding through other avenues to fund its installation and further elements of the sculpture trail.
Meanwhile, the Old Beaufort Primary School 60 committee is working to develop a business plan for community use of the old Beaufort Primary School site.
The committee is proposing a multi-use community site developed over a number of stages, with a creative arts and learning centre one of seven proposed uses.
Committee members recognise close proximity to Ballarat strongly positions Beaufort to take advantage of opportunities for the growth of artistic expression and the development of creative industry.
"Beaufort has a strong arts culture from which to build," committee chairman George Kirsanovs said.
"A creative arts and learning centre would develop alongside, and in collaboration with the existing arts community."
Many on board Beaufort's journey of artistic development recognise the broader benefits of art for community.
"Anything creative is really healthy," Ms Gerrard said.
"It brings people together, lifts your spirits and creates a sense of pride in the town."
Arts tourists are more likely to travel outside capital cities, 42 per cent, than overall tourists, 34 per cent, according to the Australian Council for the arts.
Since 2013 there has been a 41 per cent increase in international arts tourists visiting regional areas, while total international tourists visiting regional areas increased by 37 per cent.
Angela Garrerd's art exhibition runs from 2pm to 6pm on Sunday March 31 at 188 Stockyard Hill Road Beaufort. The gallery is open 10am to 4pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week.
Visit www.angelagerrard.com for details or enquiries.