Artists in the Greater Bendigo region have had exhibitions cancelled, commissions lost and social connections dwindle as a result of the coroanvirus pandemic.
But they are looking to the future even as Victoria's second wave of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.
When the pandemic originally loomed at the beginning of March, Emerge Cultural Hub creative producer Forest Keegel made the tough decision to close their Dudley House exhibition a week early.
Emerge is part of Multicultural Arts Victoria and promotes emerging and refugee communities to participation in the arts
Since the exhibition closure, the hub of 50 artists have banded together through online video hook ups to show each other their works in progress as well as offer a smile and wave of encouragement.
"Before the lockdown, we decided to close because we were concerned about a few of the artists being in the older demographic and artists staffing the space," Keegel said.
"Because we couldn't meet in person, we stated an Emerge Creative Group weekly Zoom where people do something creative, show what they've been making or even just say hello.
"People don't necessarily speak English as a first language, so it's nice to use visual medium. It's a nice way to be connected. Nothing can replace real life but it's been good to even smile and wave."
Street artist Chris Duffy uses a shared studio space but has been the sole artist working there during the pandemic.
"In lockdown I decided to paint some large canvases just for myself," he said. "They're based on COVID and keeping it light and humorous.
"A painters life is pretty isolated anyway because if you're serious you spend a lot of time in studio. But the rituals of going for coffee, having chats, meeting mates for a beer is what you miss. You miss the little things that are usually part of the day."
Kerry Brown is an emerging artist preparing to present her first exhibition. She has missed networking opportunities that are crucial to an emerging artists but be the first art show Dudley House hosts when it re-opens in August.
"For me, the positives outweigh negatives," Brown said. "It has given me more time to focus on my art, which is something I'm still fairly new to. It's giving me chance to build a body of work.
"I haven't reached out much but it feels like a lot of opportunities (for artists) have shutdown. The biggest support network has been though social media. If you're stuck you can ask for feedback.
"But I have gone more insular. One the other side of this I plan to network more and finds people to collaborate with."
Brown's exhibition came from a proposal to Artists on View to work in isolation for 20 weeks.
"The proposal I put in was a submission that I wrote pre-COVID called Immersion 2020," she said. "The idea was to work for 20 weeks and spend no less than 20 hours a week working and producing one work a week.
"The idea was to push to consistently produce work. My first thought (about lockdown) was 'bugger, it's not a unique idea any more' because everyone was talking about doing it. But on the other hand it is really good timing.
"Restrictions mean the classic room full of people may not happen. But I am looking to take it online in some way."
While the determination to stay connected has been strong for artists during the coronavirus period, regular work has dried up.
It was going fine then everything shutdown. In that scenario, arts goes straight to bottom list. I'll paint anyway but I need money (to live).Chris Duffy, street artist
Keegel helped create an online version of the Emerge exhibition, which also acted a sort of catalog for artists to showcase their work.
"People could still see the artwork, which meant people whose family were in other countries could see the work," she said. "We worked with a MAV designer to put together as simple catalog. The good thing was work could still be seen and was available for sale."
Intereach ended up purchasing four artworks for $2500 for their offices in Bendigo, Shepparton, Maryborough and Gisborne.
"Even though people are sitting at home looking at blank walls, it's not easy to get out and buy art," she said. "For the four works that were purchased, if we hadn't put an online gallery together, the process would have been a lot harder.
"It is a lot of labour for artists to answer call outs, send information and source images. So it was great we already had that ready to go and so good people still had sales, some works also sold while the exhibition was on."
Duffy lost some commissions but was still tempted to take to the streets to create work during lockdown.
"The biggest worry is the $1600 fine. I wasn't sure if it counted as work," he said. "It was going fine then everything shutdown. In that scenario, arts goes straight to bottom list. I'll paint anyway but I need money (to live).
"I had a couple of commissions lined up. I was negotiating with Star Cinema to go for funding for an Aussie icon mural but a change the funding criteria meant it has to be COVID-based or essential.
"There was also going to be a mural of David Bowie in the outback for the Let's Dance Carinda festival."
Brown still works part time in her career as a designer and advertiser but COVID has meant business has been slow.
"I'm managing a couple of clients but that has dropped off dramatically through COVID," she said. "Luckily husband's clients are humming along nicely which reduces the stress financially and means I can focus on art more."
Keegel said lockdown was a tough time for artists in particular. This week would have seen the opening of the Knuldoorong exhibition.
Knuldoorong is an Independent Art Exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, curated by Aunty Janet Bromley and run by the community.
"It's always difficult. There's no easy ways to make money because things are not set up favourably for the arts," she said.
"All the things that normally happen are impacted. Gallery sales, teaching projects, running workshops - a lot of visual artists work in other jobs to make ends meet.
"People enjoy music and art but often there is social media backlash against arts funding with the idea that (artists) like (creating), so why not do it for free?"
Duffy is now searching for vacant rooms or shops to exhibit in.
"I'm looking to have a pop-up exhibition of the paintings I have done during lockdown called the Lockdown Series," he said. "I need a large venue as the paintings are large and with a few vacant businesses in Bendigo (I'm hopeful)."
Author's note: A previous version of this article said the Knuldoorong was Emerge Cultural Hub's Exhibition when it is actually an Independent art exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, curated by Aunty Janet Bromley and run by the community.