There are more than 5,500 artworks in the Sarjeant Gallery, initially focused on 19th and early 20th century British and European art but, given the expansive terms of the will of benefactor Henry Sarjeant, the collection now spans 16th century through to 21st century.
Among the collections are historic and modern works in all media – on paper, sculptures, pottery, ceramics and glass; bronze works; video art; and paintings by contemporary artists and old masters.
Notable are works by Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Domenico Piola, Frank Brangwyn, Bernardino Poccetti, Gaspard Dughet, William Richmond, William Etty, Lelio Orsi, Frederick Goodall, Augustus John and others.
Among its collection are six works by Wanganui artist Herbert Ivan Babbage.
Celebrated hometown collection of Edith Collier's work.
Potters have a long history of working in the area Rick Rudd whose gallery across from the court house is the best , Paul Rayner, Ivan Vostinar and Ross Mitchell-Anyon.
The Whanganui Regional Museum collection has been growing since the first items were displayed in Samuel Henry Drew's shop window in Victoria Avenue. Artwork by John Tiffin Stewart.
Largely as a result of the activities of UCOL School of Art, the town has become particularly identified with hot glass, and to a lesser extent 'warm' or kiln-formed glass. Chronicle Glass is a prominent local studio.
Award-winning local glass artists include Dr Kathryn Wightman, Lisa Walsh, and Claudia Borella.
A Repertory group has been active in the town since 1933.