Community keen for silo art

February 28, 2018

The recently completed artwork on the Tungamah Silo.

Owner of Yarrawonga’s Sharp Street Silo, Rick Leeworthy is keen to develop his silo into an apartment complex similar to this one developed in Collingwood but is also open to the idea of having art painted on it.

Discussions surrounding what the next stage in the process of attracting silo art in Yarrawonga were amped up last week after an article published in the Yarrawonga Chronicle received positive responses to the idea from the community.

However, plans for art on the Pearce Street silo could be thwarted before they begin with an expected price tag of around $50,000.
Grain storage and transport company Graincorp own one of the disused silos and although having allowed six silos in Northern Victoria to be painted, a spokesperson said discussions between a defined community group and Graincorp as well as discussions between the community and levels of power such as the Moira Shire Council need to be had before an outcome could be determined.
Meanwhile the owner of the Sharp Street silo and managing director of Hadar Homes, Rick Leeworthy said he is open to the possibility of having artwork on his silo.
“We have plans to develop the site, but we are open to all possibilities,” he said.
Mr Leeworthy added that he is keen to develop the disused silo and adjacent land into an apartment complex similar to one that was transformed in Collingwood.
“All options are on the table so I am not closed to the idea.  It would be fantastic to see something happen on the site.”
Luke O’Donnell, GrainCorp Corporate Affairs Manager said they are open to talk to the community about silo art on their Yarrawonga silo.
“GrainCorp strongly supports silo art projects across our network. Since we started the silo art phenomenon at our Brim silo in 2016, we have seen the inspiration it can provide,” Mr O’Donnell said.
“Silo art is one of the most challenging large scale art projects currently being completed around the world. Previously GrainCorp has worked closely with councils and community groups to explore whether silo art is right for their community including if there is a suitable silo, safety, operational and other factors.
“While GrainCorp is happy to donate the silos as canvas, typically artist fees and equipment hire etc cost around $50,000 per site.”
Mr O’Donnell said any community group or council that are interested in exploring silo art for their community are encouraged to visit GrainCorp’s website to review their policy.
Goorambat, south of Yarrawonga now looks set to be the next silo in the region to attract art following the completion of Tungamah’s artwork last week.
Street artist Dvate is set to commence work on the giant 1940s built silo as part of the 2018 Benalla Wall to Wall Festival this week.
The St James and Devenish communities are also investigating options to have their silos adorned with art with the aim to eventually incorporate all sites into a north-east silo art trail attraction.
Long-time St James resident Jim Kelly has been a pioneer behind the idea and planning of silo art in St James and said it would be fantastic to see more of it in regional Victoria.
“When these silos are not being used they are just standing there wasting space really,” Jim said.
“It’s too hard and cost consuming to tear them down so why not do something different and something that may even bring people to the area.”
In 2015 a small community group approached Graincorp to paint silos in their local town of Brim.
These silos were not in use and provided the perfect canvas for a massive artwork.
Graincorp worked closely with a community group to deliver the project with a special focus on safety and the result of the discussions now speak for themselves- the Brim silo art has started a national phenomenon.
Given that silos were not originally built with artwork in mind, Graincorp stated they need to take a sensible, risk management approach to considering proposals.
Objectives detailed in a ‘GrainCorp silo art- consideration of community artworks’ brochure are listed as follows:  
Submitting a proposal
To be considered, any proposed project must have the demonstrated support of the local council, community group(s) and broader community. Community groups wishing to discuss a proposed project with GrainCorp must provide at a minimum:  
• A detailed design concept
• Artist’s name and portfolio
• Details of local government & community group support
• Details of how the project would be funded
• Proposed project timeline

Eligible proposals
GrainCorp will consider proposals involving artwork focused on:
 • The local community and/or its history
• Farming, grain and food production
 • Life in a regional area
• Safety

What will be considered
In addition to the design concept, GrainCorp will need to consider a range of additional factors as part of its consideration of an application:
 • Location and orientation of silo/facility
• Exposure and road access
• Visibility from nearby roads/vantage points
• Local planning laws and requirements

Other considerations
Road safety
Ongoing maintenance
Temporary artwork

Comments from the Yarrawonga Chronicle’s facebook page

After Tungamah acquired the skills of Broome street artist Sobrane to create a large canvas artwork on the towns unused silos, questions arose around town about the idea of Yarrawonga gaining some silo art.

Last week we asked our Facebook followers what they thought and invited suggestions regarding art on Yarrawonga’s unused silos with the majority of responses received coming back positive.

“Such a great idea and will benefit the town having visitors all year long. The art work must capture the history and charm of area. Hope it goes ahead” - Nettie  
“Something that reflects the town. History, heritage, people, events etc.” - Rob
“Swans, Pelicans, Murray Cod, Turtles. Anything resembling with the Murray” - Judy
 “Fish, birds, trees, water, boats etc” - Ella
“Yarrawonga has their own extremely talented national & international artist in Treahna Hamm.
How lovely it would be to use a local lady and include her indigenous heritage as well as the local scenery where she grew up in and I think it would be awesome” - Mandy  

“I feel that any type of street art would be beneficial for Yarrawonga.  Street art, helps the community in many ways, firstly it brightens old silo’s or run down buildings and most importantly it is good for our health.  I would love to see the old silo’s filled with artwork.
Silo Trails are great for attracting day visitors and hopefully, Moira Shire will make this happen” - Dave

“Absolutely brilliant idea to paint the silo’s in Yarrawonga - anything that will help bring tourist’s to the area has to be an advantage to all and sundry.
With the refurbishment of the old railway station complete what fabulous addition it would be if the silo’s had a face lift also!
It would be an awesome place to sit and have a coffee admiring the incredible artwork that these talented artist’s produce.
My relatives are born and bred in Tungamah and the new artwork on the silo’s there is fabulous..just the kick in the pants the town needs.” - Karen 

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