Joe on saving his small town with silo art

Studied agricultural science. 
National Project Officer Rural Youth Aspirations

The art silo trail that changed the small town of Woomelang

What inspired you to create a silo art trail?

We [Woomelang] wanted some kind of art that could tie in with the Silo Art Trail, and that’s how it started. We hoped by creating a silo art trail we could have the dual advantage of raising awareness about local endangered species and attracting tourists to the sometimes-forgotten town.

How did you get the process started?

The town was put in touch with artist Andrew Bourke — known as Sirum — who painted a Victorian carpet python on the town’s general store.

Many locals didn’t like the python, they were really against painting a snake on the wall. I mentioned it was an endangered animal and we got just enough support, so it went ahead.

Did the community support your idea?

It took a little bit of effort to ​​convince the local community the value that an art silo trail could bring to the community. But after seeing the flow-on effects in the form of visitors to the town, the local community were inspired to continue with the idea.

They paired with the Wimmerra Catchment Management Authority and picked eight new animals to have painted around the town.

Impacts of the art silo trail

Joe said he was amazed by the flow-on effects of the Silo Art trail in nearby towns. “It’s mind blowing, it’s changed my perspective on the region,” he said.

“[In] towns that were completely dead, like Brim, the pub reopened, an information centre was built, the caravan park opened again — it’s nearly rebuilt towns.”

He said beyond bringing tourism to towns he believed it also gave them more lobbying power.

“[The State Government has] handed a lot of money out either side of us,” he said.

“Sea Lake, Hopeton and the whole Silo Art Trail has got full support from the Government.”

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