Silo art the new big thing … but can it stay fresh?

Published: October 9, 2017

Country communities across Australia are watching the rise of silo art with growing interest … and many are eager to grab a slice of the action.

The South Australian towns of Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula town is the latest to look at painting its giant white silos in order to draw in grey nomads and other travellers.

However, as more examples of silo art spring up, some are warning they could become victims of their own success.

Dr Jane Andrew, director of the University of South Australia’s Match Studio, told the Advertiser newspaper that there is some danger of silo art and street murals becoming so common that they’re seen as ‘me-too samey’.

She likens the current big-art phenomenon in the country to the giant industry-linked sculptures, such as the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, and the Big Lobster, most of which were built in the 1960s and ‘70s.

However, she says good art will always be better than a blank wall and the specific art chosen can mean a great deal to a community … and they give struggling towns a sense of identity, and a sense of purpose.

“The process of going through this, getting organised, applying for grants and working together can be really good for a community,” she said.

The town of Coonalpyn, which unveiled its silo art back in March has certainly seen a wider benefit than simply an upsurge in grey nomad numbers.

The district council’s chief executive, Vincent Cammell, told the Advertiser that the project had “really changed the fabric of the town and brought it together in a way I don’t think has happened in a long time”.

And in Kimba, where the recently unveiled silo art has been exceptionally well received, the next phase of the community project is already under way as it starts to  seek funds to install solar-power floodlights to illuminate the silos each night.

Back in Tumby Bay, the Vittera grain-handling company, which owns the town’s silos  has made them available free of charge, but $85,000 still needs to be raised to get them painted and a planned arts festival up and running.

And then there’s the challenge of adding something different to the silo art mix.  The painted silos around Australia so far largely feature rural scenes and children, but  Tumby Bay will be keen to go for something very different to keep the idea fresh.

And, that challenge in itself, will be enough to generate discussion and community involvement.

“People have got to start looking at what’s best for the long-term future of their town,” said farmer Dion LeBrun, one of the people driving the Colour Tumby project. “A town that’s stagnant and stuck in the past is not going to be a vibrant town for long.”

  • Do you think silo art could become ‘too samey’? Comment below.
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Phillipn
4 years ago

Towns that are having their silos painted can see the value in bringing grey nomads to town, they spend money.

Not like Byron Bay who chase grey nomads and their money out of town.

Coralyn imberti
4 years ago

I think the silo art is doing great things for country towns and giving nomads a good reason to make a detour to these little towns . The art work is amazing have not seen a bad one yet. Just love it.
Keep up with the amazing work.

Stuart
4 years ago

Hardly a comparison to those large lobsters and bananas etc.
this is real art. Huge outdoors art galleries.

Neil
4 years ago

Yes its a great Idea although there is a risk of it been overdone. We are about to tour the Victorian silos as we leave Mildura andhead to Melbourne for christmas.

Jean
4 years ago

Western Australia doesn’t seem to have a lot of silo art as yet, but it is coming. So far we have only seen that at Merredin, but will see it in Ravensthorpe tomorrow. I think it’s a great idea. So. Any of these small towns have much to offer.

Nomad1946
4 years ago

We have every intention to visit each and every town to see the art, and are looking forward to going. I have just a thought or two … inexpensive caravan sites, bakeries, grocers, butchers, and of course, pubs … will these all be open 7days. We have had the occasional, unfortunate, situation where we visit a town and find that some of these are “closed on Sundays” …..

Nomad1946
4 years ago

…… damn wrong button, not finished ……. Info kiosks if they close need to have a secondary site for information, maps, etc. …. and, maybe thecall important “local knowledge”

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