Blank canvas for a Valley gallery

July 11, 2017

Silos of the Goulburn Valley and Southern Riverina could see a facelift, with a number of local mayors open to the idea of using them to display artwork.

The work of the Wimmera-Mallee region is inspiring conversation across the Goulburn Valley and Southern Riverina, with the region’s mayors admitting they’re intrigued by the possibility of introducing silo art into their localities.

Loddon Shire mayor Neil Beattie said he’d taken note of the Silo Art Trail, which when completed will include six silos across the Wimmera-Mallee region, and believes there’s potential to extend the trail across the rest of Victoria, including his own shire.

‘‘Someone needs to grab hold of the project and work out where the route is and what route it could take, and then talk to the artists and towns and see what they think,’’ he said.

‘‘We’d be quite supportive of it, it would enhance our tourism to no end.’’

With a number of silos throughout the shire which covers towns from Boort to Pyramid Hill, Cr Beattie said there was certainly plenty of options for canvases should the idea reach that stage.

Moira Shire Mayor Gary Cleveland, who represents more than 28000 residents across towns including Nathalia, Cobram and Yarrawonga, echoed Cr Beattie’s thoughts and labelled the Silo Art Trail in the west of the state ‘‘fantastic’’.

Although he is cautious of looking too far into the future, he said he would be interested in looking at a proposal.

‘‘The bottom line is that we are interested in anything that improves tourism — that’s a big driver for us,’’ Cr Cleveland said.

‘‘One of the issues with it is that not all silos are publicly owned. By including water towers, that is broadening the discussion. Water towers are more in public ownership.

‘‘Putting up the capital is the big part.’’

Although art on silos has been the focus of the Silo Art Trail, Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins encouraged people to give some thought to other potential art forms.

Cr Perkins said there had been discussion in the past about potential artworks, with the community — which covers NSW towns including Finley and Tocumwal — interested in doing something ‘‘a bit different’’.

‘‘There is interest in projecting updatable and changeable pictures or artwork,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m not sure how much legs it has got yet but it certainly has been spoken about.’’

Although not aware of any current projects in the shire, Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the council would be happy to have discussions with local artists, galleries, studios or organisations if they had any plans.

‘‘Public art is a good way to encourage people to take pride in where they live, get involved in their local community, give people a creative outlet and brighten up public spaces. It can also encourage people to visit an area and can even be a catalyst for festivals like the Benalla Wall to Wall Festival,’’ she said.

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