Tungamah is set to become the first town in northern Victoria to paint its silos when the artwork gets under way early next year.
After months of planning, the project will be officially launched at a public town event on Sunday, February 11 at which Western Australian artist Sobrane will unveil her plans for the large-scale artwork.
Initiated as part of the town’s Community Kickstart plan, which sets out five years of programs to improve and reinvigorate the town as nominated by locals, the silo art will be the first of a number of projects to be completed.
Local farmer Will Cooper, whose family owns the silo, said the idea had been in the works for more than two years.
‘‘The fact that other silos have been done in other areas of the country probably inspired the community to get moving,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve given Sobrane some images of local and native birds we see quite regularly and I’m sure she’ll come up with something that suits the town and natural culture.’’
With vehicles bound for Yarrawonga travelling the highway less than 10 minutes from Tungamah, the townspeople are hopeful that the silo art will encourage passers-by to stop in the town and visit.
‘‘We’ve got great footy and tennis clubs, a great pub and local store. We don’t want to lose any of these community assets so that main inspiration is to bring in some outside foot traffic and keep the businesses strong,’’ Mr Cooper said.
Tungamah Post Office owner Jo Clark, who has lived in Tungamah all her life, has been displaying Sobrane’s art within the post office since she was confirmed as the silo artist.
Having initially joined the Community Kickstart group to get the town’s RV site up and running, Mrs Clark said she was pleased to see town projects getting under way.
‘‘It will be wonderful to have our silos painted. It’ll be just magic. Hopefully it will bring lots of tourists in to look at the silos and support the local business and we’ll all benefit from it,’’ she said.
‘‘Hopefully we can succeed in getting all the projects done; we’ve got five years to get them all finished. It’s a good little town and hopefully it’ll help us to encourage people to visit and stay.’’
Paul Basse has owned the Tungamah Hotel — which overlooks the silo — for 14 months and said he thought the silo art would do good things for the ‘‘great little town’’.
‘‘I reckon it will be fantastic for the town. I hope it’ll bring some more people through for tourism,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve done a fair bit at the pub so hopefully this will bring a lot more people in.’’
The town is encouraging other nearby towns to explore the idea of bringing silo art to their town, with the hopes of introducing a trail, similar to that established in the state’s west.
■Those who wish to donate to Tungamah’s Kickstart Project can email Will Cooper at [email protected] or visit the Facebook page ‘Tungamah Kickstart’.
Artist chosen for Tungamah silo
Western Australian artist Sobrane will travel to Tungamah next year to paint northern Victoria’s first silo art.
With less than two months remaining until the silo art gets under way, Sobrane said the final art that will go on the towering structure was still to be determined but would likely be a native or local bird.
‘‘I’ve been encouraging people to send local photos in to me and we’ll move from there,’’ she said.
‘‘I like to be in front of the project and then visualise it. I can get the scale just from looking at it which is a little unusual ... For me it’s just like painting on a big canvas.’’
Having completed artworks and held exhibitions around the world, including Italy and Hong Kong, Sobrane said country towns still held a special meaning for her.
‘‘I grew up in a country town on a sheep farm in Western Australia, so I get it, I love small towns,’’ she said.
She believes that projects such as silo art can help reinvigorate country towns.
‘‘Small towns need the energy, they need the vibe to get going, I’m pretty passionate about small towns.’’
Tungamah locals can expect to see Sobrane around town early next year, with the artist spending some time getting to know locals and speaking with them about their town and the silo art.
‘‘I’ll get to know their feelings and get to know their plans,’’ she said.
‘‘I like to challenge myself ... It’s a lovely challenge to do.’’
The silo art will officially get under way at the town’s community kickstart launch on Sunday, February 11.