Canberra artist Jess Herrington, who combines her training in neuroscience to work with virtual and augmented reality, found a new and growing audience for her work this year.
It was one of the upsides to a pandemic which encouraged more people to explore art available online.
"Initially there was a big drop and there wasn't much happening but since people are adjusting to the pandemic and working in different ways, there has been a much bigger demand for the work I do and improving and creating really interesting sensory social experiences online. I sort of bounced back and I'm doing better than before," Herrington said.
Herrington, who is also completing a visual neuroscience PhD at the Australian National University, was among the 145 artists in Canberra who received grants as part of the ACT government's emergency Homefront funding scheme, which distributed just under $1 million across May and August.
After graduating from the ANU School of Art and working for a time in a London web-design studio, Herrington returned to Canberra to take up science.
"I've always been really interested in why we look at art, what we like and what we like about it. If you think about, there are no other species of animal that actually stare at art; it's just something we do, a very human thing. I specialise in visual neuroscience, so I study how we perceive different sorts of surfaces," she said.
Herrington's Homefront-supported work has since been shown at New York's Digital Art Month and will be shown in Miami in December.
She said she was interested in taking neuroscience ideas and applying them to visual art.
"It brought me to working with digital food and I'm sort of looking at what it would be like to consume a digital food-based experience, and I'm looking at what digital experiences might be like in the future and working towards that I suppose," she said.
For artist Nicci Haynes, who received a $5000 Homefront grant, the locked-down months in Canberra were productive because government support gave her room to think.
"When Homefront cropped up, I wasn't sure what was going to happen at all, you know. There was sort of this air of catastrophe about everything," Haynes said.
"It was good to know that there was some padding there."
Haynes has exhibited her work from this year at the Australian National Capital Artists Gallery, at the Centre for Less Good Ideas in Johannesburg, and on Art Monthly Australasia's Instagram. She said supporting artists allowed them to have time to actually produce new work.
"I seem to manage OK but it's a lot of work. I feel like an artist, you generally have to do everything by yourself. All the making, all the organising, the publicity, promotion, and the writing your own bios and artist statements ... There's a lot of admin aside from making the art," she said.
The latest arts activities funding round has allocated 14 grants to projects which cover publishing and literature, visual art, music, dance, and theatre.
Projects include recording a contemporary choral work, producing an LGBTIQA variety show and the publication of stories of multicultural motherhood in Canberra.
Arts Minister Tara Cheyne said the ACT government had committed $7 million in economic stimulus to support creative workers in the ACT this year.
"Art funding is vital in assisting local artists develop and showcase their work to the public," Ms Cheyne said.
Another round of arts activities funding, with grants worth between $5000 and $50,000, opens on Tuesday, with an allocation of $325,000.