Fine art photographer Lauren Starr hopes to see more of the city's heritage buildings utilised as gallery spaces for regional artists.
Starr is part of the artists' hub at Valentine's Antique Gallery in View Street and is working to convert the building's old bank vault into a gallery space.
"Peter Valentine bought the old Sandhurst Building and renovated it, so it is half-filled with beautiful world-class antiques and the other half is rooms rented to artists that has become known as an artists' hub," she said. "Each artist has a hub where they can sell and do work.
"But there's no commercial gallery (in Bendigo) where people can buy local artwork, so there is a bit of pioneering in that."
Ms Starr's work with Bendigo's Emporium Creative Hub Incubator led her to the idea of using heritage building as galleries for local artists.
"My huge dream was to, at some stage, get a heritage building and turn it into a thriving arts hub with accommodation, workshops and a cutting edge arts gallery," she said.
"That's the long-term goal - a funky arts hub that people come to Bendigo to see.
"Unfortunately, I don't have a spare $4 million at the moment, so I am utilising the space I've got, which is an old bank vault, to turn it into a gallery space for local artists to exhibit."
The first exhibition will be unveiled as part of the Bendigo Pride Festival on March 12.
"It would be fabulous for the community to come to these sorts of local exhibitions and buy local art," Ms Starr said.
"It will be a test to see if something like this thrives and turns in to something bigger if people support it."
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