First Nations and multicultural artists in the Bendigo region now have a dedicated space to develop, create and share their art and culture.
Located in the recently renovated and restored Beehive Building, the Cultural Exchange is now open to the public and features artist studios, performance and rehearsal space, art workshops and classes.
Multicultural Arts Victoria Bendigo creative producer Forest Keegel said it was important for First Nations and culturally diverse artists to have a space to create, connect and collaborate in.
"It is definitely something people really want," she said. "People have often asked where the cultural centre in Bendigo is.
"There's definitely a demonstrated need for a multicultural hub or meeting space as well as an Indigenous art gallery. That's something MAV identified when we started in Bendigo in 2017."
Ms Keegel said beehive Building owner Craig Lightfoot came to an agreement with the group in September.
"It has taken a while to get in here because of the COVID-19 restrictions," she said. "The artists are doing all the work themselves. Everyone has been hands on.
"We probably have about 20 or 30 artists involved. There is studio space upstairs, some have groups in them. There is also gallery and shop space down stairs.
"It's not going to be static exhibitions as such but more that artists can finish paintings upstairs and bring it down and exhibit it. The artists are involved in all operations."
Yorta Yorta artist Lorraine Brigdale said the she has lamented the lack of space for Indigenous Artists in Bendigo for a long time.
"My Aboriginal heritage, culture and art is so close to my heart," she said. "At the same time, I feel a great affinity with people of other nationalities and various multicultural groups who have made Bendigo their home.
"This opportunity to put the art and culture, of Aboriginal Artists together with other cultural groups, in front of the Bendigo public and visitors to Bendigo is, for me an occasion of good fortune.
"It is exceptional and a special moment in time that I am very happy and thankful to be experiencing."
Sri Lankan artist Akhila Fernando moved to Bendigo five years ago. He does digital and animated creations but also learned the tradition Sri Lankan artistry of batik from his father.
"My father is a batik artist in Sri Lanka. It is a technique of making designs with wax and dye using materials like cotton and silk to make garments or artistry," he said.
"My plan is to do more workshops with people who want to learn the batik technique. Since people can't travel overseas, it is a good time to come experience things like that (in Australia).
"(The Cultural Exchange) is a great opportunity and something that is really needed for me and other artists working in here. It is very exciting."
The Cultural Exchange is located in the Beehive Building in Pall Mall. It will open each Friday, Saturday and Sunday but plans to expand its hours.