Cancellations abounded in the arts sector because of COVID-19 but a major Border competition both continued and reached new audiences.
Murray Art Museum Albury's National Photography Prize attracted nearly 200 applicants from across Australia vying for the $30,000 cash award.
Supported by the MAMA Art Foundation, the biennial acquisitive event has been held since 1983, with the 2020 winner Debra Phillips announced on Sunday.
MAMA director Bree Pickering said during the closure because of coronavirus restrictions, the website virtual tours allowed interested people living elsewhere to see the gallery for the first time.
Border residents also thanked MAMA for making the photographic prize announcement accessible to everyone online.
"I think that's a really good lesson for us as a museum to remember that our audience is much bigger than the people who can come in," Ms Pickering said.
MAMA Art Foundation chairman Tony Smith said the competition arose from a decision to focus on photography.
"To help the gallery acquire some innovative photography, we started a prize every two years and it's been going a long time now," he said.
"Photographers are aware of Albury and this exhibition, so it's got national standing because it's got a good history and because we also offer a substantial prize.
"The result is that we have a very good quality photography collection."
IN OTHER NEWS:
As well as Phillips' winning series, MAMA through the foundation has also acquired works by finalists Hayley Millar-Baker, who won the John and Margaret Baker Memorial Fellowship for emerging artists, Justine Varga and Phuong Ngo.
Ms Pickering said artists continued to strive "and to be able to have these mechanisms for supporting work is really important".
The photography prize allowed MAMA "to work with artists who are not just doing photography well, but reimagining photography, thinking about it in different ways".
"It's such a beautiful medium for reflecting culture and ideas back to us and having us think about things slightly differently," the director said.
While MAMA reopened on Monday, some exhibitions had to be postponed because they involved international artists or loaned works that could not arrive owing to COVID-19 restrictions.
But far from sitting empty, the museum has extended the National Photography Prize exhibition until June 14 and then will display its own artworks until October.
"The pandemic is a brilliant example of why it is so vital to have a permanent collection because it means that we're not dependent on outside sources for us to be able to show really incredible work to our community at any time," Ms Pickering said.
"So people can come and see the things that they essentially own."