A NEW arts hub in Castlemaine will open its doors next weekend after forming in March to assist artists during the coronavirus lockdown.
Cream Town was formed in March as an online collective to support artists unable to secure financial aid from government programs.
Founder Isaebella Doherty said the collective had 200 members who had sold $80,000 worth or artwork during the pandemic.
"A majority of artists have sold work," she said. " Because of how much work each person sells, it may not be enough to live off but the mental health benefits (are important).
"When you're experiencing this isolation and lockdown, it can be debilitating. So to be a part of a community where you're seeing support and showcasing work gives a lot of people a nice boost of energy and enthusiasm."
Cream Town members are from all parts of Australia as well as some overseas areas.
"We didn't want to say no to anyone in financial hardship," Ms Doherty said. "If they the fit criteria, then invite them to join us.
"There are a few overseas members but 95 per cent are Australian."
Cream Town will set up shop at the corner of Barker and Hunter streets in Castlemaine. It will open on August 1.
The hub will host other small businesses - Regrarians, Situation Dining and Isaebella Photography - and plans to instill a do-it-together philosophy as a community driven initiative and economic safeguard.
"It's pretty exciting. In terms of the business itself, we had no idea how much it would blow up in such a short period of time," Ms Doherty said. "There was a lot of support for the artistic community.
"We opened four months ago and it seems very serendipitous to us that everything we tried has happened easily. Almost like it's a process that wants to occur.
"We want to make it an arts precinct with live music, some smaller offices and studios and hope to make it a central hub for arts in Castlemaine and central Victoria."