Silo Art Is Turning Small Australian Towns Into Our Biggest Outdoor Galleries

  • All Ages

By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist

I don't know about you but this excites me. I discovered Silo Art one night while watching an ABC Back Roads' feature on the small town of Thallon in remote Queensland. And now I am obsessed.

Silo Art encompasses so many amazing things - spectacular public art, the great Australian community spirit, and well, the great Australian tradition of 'big things'. These works of art are springing up all over regional Australia and, no surprises, they are attracting the tourists, bringing a desperately needed lifeline to struggling rural towns. Not only do they inject money into these towns, they lift the spirits of the town's inhabitants, giving them something to be proud of and helping them stay buoyant about the town's future prospects, especially poignant in these times of need.

Where Did Silo Art Begin?

In 2016, Brisbane street artist Guido van Helten began plying his brush to silos in the west Victorian town of Brim, a town that was facing a rather grim future. The only pub in the town had just closed down and things looked bleak. Fast forward to now and the town is prospering. Almost overnight, social media went into overdrive with people in awe of the 'Farmer Quartet' silos which feature four characters, standing 30 metres tall, looking over the town [hero image]. 

The pub is up and running again and tourists are continually flocking to the tiny town with a population of 100. 

Since then, close to a dozen other communities have followed suit and we now have the Silo Art Trail in regional Victoria. This trail encourages you to turn your next road trip into a public art adventure. 

The Silo Art Trail

If you begin your journey in Melbourne it will take you about 4 hours to get to Brim. From there, to travel the entire 200-kilometre Silo Art Trail from one end (Julia Volchkova’s Rupanyup) to the other (Fintan Magee’s Patchewollock), it should take a little over two hours. Although, who wants to rush, especially when travelling with kids, turn it into a proper road trip by staying overnight in one of the towns and also visiting the nearby towns and attractions.

Who Is On Display?

The trail brings together internationally recognised street artists – Julia Volchkova, Guido van Helten, Fintan Magee, Matt Adnate, Kaff-eine and Rone – and takes in six of Victoria's smallest towns. Murals in Sheep Hills, Brim, Patchewollock, Lascelles and Rupanyup are already complete, while new work by Kaff-eine is planned for Rosebery. A unique art project that is still evolving, I am sure the Silo Art Trail will only get bigger and better over time.

What About The Rest Of The Country?

While Victoria got in first, the rest of the country is jumping on the bandwagon and silo art can now be found in remote parts of New South Wales (Weethalle in the central west region), Western Australia and Queensland.

As the pressures and devastation of the drought continue to take its toll on the country, I cannot be more grateful for this little breath of fresh air for our country folk. It's not going to bring rain, but art, true to its form, can bring us a little flicker of hope to our lives. 

Hero image via the Silo Art Facebook page

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