In an ideal world, all industrial surfaces would be covered in incredible artworks.
We say death to concrete, give us huge art installations in wide-open spaces.
It would appear that state governments across Australia agree. The ACT has recently announced a $700,000 Creative Recovery and Resilience Programme to fund three new public works from local artists.
In Queensland, almost $1 million has been allocated to deliver arts and cultural experiences across the state.
Of course, it’s not such a surprise that we’re backing the public art movement. Melbourne has for years been a beacon to the world for its street art and, in normal times, thousands flock annually to Sydney shores for Sculptures by the Sea (something Melbourne appears to be jealous of).
It also goes without saying that we love building big things all over the place for the sheer hell of it.
It’s not just good for the aesthetics of these places either. A recent survey found that art in regional areas brings tourism in at a much higher rate.
Since 2013, there has been a 41% increase in international arts tourists visiting regional areas, while total international tourists visiting regional areas increased by 37%.
Check out some of the incredible pieces of art currently on display in our regional communities.
A blank water tank has recently been transformed into an outdoor riot of colour in Karratha, WA.
Karratha resident Nanette Williams has said that the Pilbara region’s latest piece shows a welcome change in attitudes. She has been campaigning for the tank to be painted since the ’80s.
“I used to drive up Balmoral road and every morning the sun would be coming up just over the beautiful red hills, and there were these two big white tanks,” she said.
“And I used to think, ‘They should be painted beautiful colours, so when we drive up this road we’ve got something gorgeous coming up out of those lovely red hills’.”
Not one to let Sydney’s sculptures take all the glory, the regional wine haven of Mudgee offers an annual sculpture walk with local artworks on display at different wineries.
Sculptures in the Garden combines garden design, large scale Australian sculpture, and traditional art mediums in beautiful rural surroundings within private gardens and vineyards in Mudgee.
It’s regional NSW’s largest and most renowned outdoor sculpture exhibition. The outdoor exhibition is held from the second weekend in October and runs for 16 days.
Victoria’s silo art trail
Victoria’s Wimmera/Mallee region is home to perhaps the most famous selection of large-scale outdoor artworks.
The Silo Art Trail in northwestern Victoria is the country’s biggest outdoor gallery and covers 10 of the state’s smallest rural towns.
You can cruise from town to town to take in the innovative projects from local street artists who have transformed wheat silos into giant works of art. It has already revitalised the towns and brought thousands of new visitors to the region.
Wellington Dam Mural
In February, artist Guido Van Helten completed an 8,000-square-metre mural in Wellington Forest, just a few hours south of Perth.
It is believed to be the biggest dam mural in the world and is already a tourist magnet for the coal-mining region.
Two hours north of Margaret River, the location provides an ideal stop-over spot for wine connoisseurs on their way south from Perth.
South Australia silo art tour
Not wishing to be outdone by their next-door neighbours, South Australia has slowly been building up its silo art in the southeastern corner of the state, just across the border from Melbourne’s own silo art region.
Since 2017, both state and private individuals have been commissioning local artists to cover grain silos in regional areas with incredible works of art.
Much like in Victoria, the silos stand in a somewhat coherent trail that loops around Adelaide and can be driven over a day or so.
Unlike Victoria, they’ve now got at least 12 pieces to take in — up your game, Vic!
In Queensland, students from Cairns have worked with local artist Ricky Beresford to create a series of murals to cover the town centre.
Bins, electrical boxes, bus stops, and other public blank canvases have been turned into public galleries. This is what we want to see more of.
Western Australia silo art
Getting in on the silo art action, Western Australia has created a series of enormous pieces to cover agricultural buildings and infrastructure throughout the southwest corner of the state.
It takes about five days to comfortably drive between all 11 locations and is another of the country’s biggest outdoor galleries.
Completed in 2018, the trail is part of a drive for more public artworks in the state and locals have said the pieces help to foster community and identity for the regions.
Queensland too has its own silo art, though not yet in as many locations as the other states.
Just over the border from NSW, in the town of Thallon, stand four huge grain silo pieces based on the work of local photographers.
The collection is entitled ‘The Watering Hole’ and incorporates Chantel McAlister’s ‘First Light’, ‘Moonie River’ by Lila Brosnan and Gary Petrie’s shot of two pale faced rosellas.
The works, finished in 2017, have been a huge boon to the town with a population of just 257.