Two new murals on the outside of Geraldton Regional Art Gallery are a happy surprise for spectators, grateful the blank walls have been upgraded and include common features of local gardens. Gallery co-ordinator Briony Bray said the shortlisting process was difficult because there were so many expressions of interest. “We’ve had heaps of positive comments from people walking past, taking photos and chatting to (artist) Imogen (Palmer). We’ve also had people coming in to the visitors centre saying how nice it is to see something happening with the wall,” she said. Ms Bray said the kingfisher bird was a great addition to the mural. There had been plenty of feedback that the artwork was relatable. The new art has been completed just in time for the opening of the Mid West Art Prize, which will be held on Saturday night from 6.30pm. The event will welcome guests to view the new paintings done by Imogen Palmer, a WA artist who works closely with vibrant flora and fauna native to the region. The design features a sacred kingfisher next to eucalyptus leaves and the region’s most prized plant, the Geraldton wax alongside the bird. The mural facing Durlacher Street has a singing honeyeater on a eucalyptus tree branch, acknowledging the hundreds of bird species across the Mid West. Palmer said she wanted to create a dynamic and friendly piece with elements native to the area that everyone could enjoy. “Galleries can be kind of scary and intimidating if you aren’t in the art world so I wanted to create something everyone can enjoy whether you appreciate fine art or not,” she said. Palmer said there had been lots of community engagement during her stint, with some pedestrians telling her stories of the kingfishers in their own backyards. “It’s very unreal to paint such a significant building, it’s very special and I’ve tried to make it something I’m really proud of,” she said. Palmer will be back in Geraldton in the new year to conduct a community upskilling workshop where a second mural will be painted by locals in another location.