One of the region's true characters is being remembered for his "jovial" personality and creating an outlet for regional artists to showcase their work.
The Riverina community will fondly remember an Australian icon, who broke down "pretentious" art and constantly put the region's needs at the forefront.
Peter Batey, the Coolac larrikin who founded the iconic and irreverent Bald Archy Prize, sadly passed away on Friday evening.
Eastern Riverina Arts artistic director Scott Howie said the art's hidden meanings and satirical themes were what excited people.
"I think he's a bit of a maverick, he had a big personality and he did an amazing job with the Bald Archy as he created something that really resonated with people across our region," Mr Howie said.
"He made it available to our region and broke down the perception that art is snobby and elitist and his passion and commitment to this community will always be remembered.
"He has a deep impact and made this region a little bit more colourful and vibrant.
"He deflated egos in the arts world to make it fun and meaningful to people's lives."
Wagga City Council cultural officer Tim Kurylowicz said Mr Batey has left behind a legacy across a wide variety of art forms.
"It's a very sad passing of a local legend and being an instigator of the arts in regional areas, he hated the kind of pomp and pretentiousness of the art world," Mr Kurylowicz said.
"This gave people a way to be irreverent and proud of who they were and where they came from.
"The Bald Archy Prize was a favourite everywhere it went."
Mr Kurylowicz said his contribution to drama and theatre and then the visual arts later in life, were massive.
"It really bought the exhibition home again and it was fitting that the 25th year was held here and I worked on that exhibition," he said.
"Peter was really on the cutting edge in shaping a very uniquely Australian form of cabaret performance.
"The Betty Blokk-buster Follies and his work with Reg Livermore more were widely successful, but they brought this irreverent, very rude and funny sensibility to a scene that was really quite stuffy before he came along.
"Of course, he had such a huge personality and anybody who interacted with him would remember him strongly."
The Daily Advertiser contacted Reg Livermore, but he was unavailable to comment.
Mr Batey was born in Benalla in 1933. He went on to be a founding member of Melbourne Theatre Company, inaugural artistic director or the South Australian Theatre Company and first director of the Victorian Arts Council.
He moved to country NSW, settling at Coolac, where in 1994 he started the Bald Archys, the world's only art competition judged by a cockatoo - a satirical take on Australia's most famous art prize, the Archibald.
Mr Batey was instrumental to the community of Gundagai, from putting their needs at the forefront of agendas to preserving the region's history.
"Peter was a legend, not only in our area but Australia wide and his passing has really saddened the community," said Cootamundra-Gundagai mayor Abb McAlister.
"He's been a true Australian character and what he's done in the arts and even with historical landmarks, like the Old Gundagai Gaol has been unbelievable.
"Peter served on council and he was an excellent councillor and just a jovial character who not only had the community, but also the region at heart."
Cr McAlister said he was a "true blue Aussie icon" and there could only ever be one Peter Batey.