Silo art to benefit towns

February 21, 2018

The finished Tungamah silo, pictured on Monday, that Broome Street artist Sobrane painted with her signature bird inspired art.

Various groups and members of the community have thrown their support behind artwork being created on the unused concrete silos in Yarrawonga, saying it could be another drawcard to the town.

If the idea was to go ahead Yarrawonga could become a member of a proposed silo art trail throughout northern Victoria, expose the town to even more tourists and give use to the idle concrete silos in Pearce and Sharp Streets.
The setback to the idea as it stands now is the fact the concrete silos are privately owned.
Initial conversation began more than 12 months ago about silo art being introduced to Yarrawonga, however a representative from Moira Shire Council said because the concrete silos on Pearce and Sharp Streets are currently privately owned, any work to be done would have to be determined by the owners.
“Moira Shire Council is currently working on a new Arts and Culture Policy and is excited about any new ideas in this field,” said Manager of Community Development, Georgia Hills.
“In terms of artwork on silos, all silo infrastructure within the Yarrawonga area is privately owned so these types of proposals would be owner and or community generated.”
The aluminum silos in Pearce Street are still in use by GrainCorp but the concrete structures have been unused for many years.
Yarrawonga talks have since increased in the past few weeks after Tungamah secured the skills of renowned Broome based street artist Sobrane to spray paint their local silos, owned by the farming Cooper family.
Local Tungamah farmer and owner of the silos Will Cooper said the project had been in planning for the last couple of years, and would be the first of the town’s Kickstart projects.
“This will be the start of a few different projects in the area which we can link together to form a public art trail, and encourage some more tourists to come and visit our fantastic town,” he said.
Sobrane drew inspiration from photos sent to her of local birds and said she was excited about the scale of the project.
“It’s a massive blank canvas to work on and to do something that will attract tourists into the area and help the town’s economy is extra special,” she said.
“These small country towns are our strength in community, they offer us friendships and down to earth hospitality.
“If I can have an active role to help entice people to come out and experience that, I think that’s very special.”
Tungamah raised Mulwala resident Joanne Smyth raised the idea of silo art to this area in 2016 on the Tungamah - Tales of the Good Old Days Facebook page and believed that with the permission of the owners both the Yarrawonga and Tungamah communities could have put together proposals for grants for artists to work on the town silos.
As the Tungamah silo art is now complete, the town evidently followed through on Joanne’s idea but she said she would love to see more areas in the region, in particular Yarrawonga, go ahead with the project and had some ideas herself on the subjects that could be painted.
“The theme could be a representation of each town as well as the history of the area by depicting the story and the historical importance of both towns and surrounding areas,” Joanne said.
“Yarrawonga could have a paddle-steamer and a representation of a local indigenous tribe on one side to represent the towns history and then the lake and say water skiing on the other side to bring the modern town to it as well.”
Representative for Moira Shire Georgia Hills said they would examine the Moira Planning Scheme if a proposal was brought forward to them in the future.
“Should any proposed art work trigger a planning application, Council will assess each proposal in accordance with the provisions of the Moira Planning Scheme and investigate if grants and sponsorship are possible,” Georgia said.
The Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism and Business also threw their support behind the idea, on the premises that the owners are able to make the final decision on the outcome but said it could be great for the town.
Team Leader of Tourism at The Yarrawonga Mulwala Visitor Information Centre Helen Copland said it had been a subject of conversation at the centre since the first silo was publicised.
“Many community members and visitors who’ve been here have told us they’ve visited the other silo locations and think our town should do the same thing,” Helen said.
“The Visitor Information Centre and Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism & Business would think that this is a great project if it were to go ahead.”
Recently St James and Devenish also announced they were currently in the process of planning artworks, putting their ideas forward to the community to evoke interest in this different type of community art and hoping to join the larger art trail throughout the region.
What do you think of Yarrawonga’s unused silos being transformed into a large piece of art? Would it be beneficial to the town and what design would you like to see created?
Send us your ideas to [email protected] or go to the Chronicles Facebook page to join the discussion.

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