Artist Judy Nelson has taken out the Great Western Tiers Art Award's major prize for her piece commenting on the proposed Northern Prison site at Westbury.
Nelson's award winning acrylic painting 'Should we lock our door?' addressed the Meander Valley's most topical issue for the last several months.
In her artist statement accompanying the work she said the $550 painting would support the Westbury Region Against the Prison (WRAP).
"Imagine a prison larger than Westbury's Sports Oval and the length of the Village Green," she said.
"Historic doors will close if cell doors are allowed to operate.
"A close encounter or reality."
The judges awarded her the $1000 non-acquisitive main prize because of its comment on the history of Westbury and its fascination of the stories behind the houses and their doors. Deeming it a "clever idea and use of materials".
The annual art exhibition is open to residents of Meander Valley and members of the Launceston Art Society.
Works are focused on the region and its theme for 2020 was 'close encounters'.
In addition to the major prize Margret McBain and Kath Wilmott took home Highly Commended Awards.
Brad Quin won the 'Essence of the Valley' prize, which is given to a work which the judges consider illustrates the best features of the region, and Margaret Tabor won the Encouragement Award.
An additional 'People's Choice' prize will be awarded at the conclusion of the exhibition.
LAS's president Rachel Howell said there had been a significant increase in entries this year, with more than 40 received.
"With so much to explore, experience, learn and share in this region, we appreciated your varied and interesting interpretations of 'close encounters' in this exhibition," she said.
"There were a large number of artworks worthy of winning awards, however by exhibiting you are all winners.
"Composition, use of colour and value, originality and a connection and interpretation of the theme were some of the elements that were considered in the selection process by Sonja Grodski of Creative Studios and myself."
Mayor Wayne Johnston presented the major award and opened the exhibition on Friday, with more than 70 people in attendance.
GWTAA is an initiative of the Meander Valley Council in partnership with the LAS.
The exhibition will be open until March 31 at the Deloraine Creative Studios.