Thinking big creates new art drawcards across Victoria

Australia-Arts-Review-Creative-Victoria-Rupanyup-Silo-photo-by-Lee-MerchantThe Victorian Government is supporting the creation of large-scale art featuring silos, app trails and open-air galleries under a program that will connect communities, boost cultural tourism and create jobs across the state.

Five projects were selected for their potential to become year-round drawcards in St Arnaud, Wedderburn, Picola and Bendigo, while a fifth initiative will render Gertrude Street in Fitzroy through the lens of First Peoples.

The first round of the Government’s Creative Activations Fund – a 2018 election commitment – has provided grants topping $550,000 to back the innovative and ambitious art.

“We’re proud to back the world-class creative teams – and the communities – behind these bold projects,” said Minister Foley. “This program is all about how creativity can activate, stimulate and amplify local tourism, businesses and jobs – and this is more important than ever. I look forward to seeing this first crop of projects come to life.”

Inspired by the success of the Silo Art Trail in the Wimmera Mallee, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and reinvigorated local towns, the Creative Activations Fund is about harnessing creativity for the benefit of Victorians.

Using grain silos as his canvas, artist Kyle Torney will reflect the gold mining history of St Arnaud – the town where six generations of his family has lived. Another silo, in Picola in northern Victoria, will be transformed by Melbourne artist Jimmy Dvate, taking inspiration from the unique wildlife of nearby Barmah National Park – the largest red gum forest in the world.

Artists will create five open-air murals in Wedderburn depicting the birdlife of the surrounding conservation area, a biodiverse habitat for 180 of Australia’s native bird species, 20 of which are listed as endangered.

Bendigo’s old Telstra Exchange and the neighbouring creekbank will be transformed with neon artworks, street art and digital experiences telling the stories of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, the traditional owners of Bendigo.

In Fitzroy, arts organisation Storyscape will create Yalinguth (yesterday), an app-based augmented reality tour of Gertrude Street visiting sites of cultural and historical significance to First Peoples. The project brings together indigenous elders, musicians, poets and other artists including Archie Roach, Jack Charles and Kutcha Edwards.

Applications for round two of the Creative Activations Fund will open in August 2020 and will prioritise projects in the Wimmera Mallee region. For more information including program guidelines, visit: www.creative.vic.gov.au for details.

Image: Rupanyup Silo – photo by Lee Merchant


Creative Activations Fund Recipients:

Greater Bendigo City Council, Bendigo, $100,000
Development and delivery of Djaara Lights, a sequence of neon artworks, street art and digital experiences telling the dreaming stories of “Djandak” (Country) from Dja Dja Wurrung people, the Traditional Owners of Bendigo. The project will activate Bendigo’s Telstra Exchange Building and the neighbouring Bendigo Creek.

Picola and District Improvement Group, Picola, $53,100
Creation of a large-scale silo art mural by artist Jimmy D’Vate. The work will depict scenes of local history, flora and fauna, inspired by the nearby Barmah National Park, home to the largest Red Gum forest in the world.

St Arnaud Community Resource Centre on behalf of Sally Wright, St Arnaud, $60,000
Development and creation of the St Arnaud Silo Art Gateway Project, two steel grain silos to be painted by local artist Kyle Torney, reflecting the town’s prospecting history. Once complete, the silos will act as the ‘gateway’ stop to the other six sites in the Wimmera Mallee Silo Art Trail.

Storyscape, Fitzroy, $300,000
Development and creation of Yalinguth, a sound-based Augmented Reality app that creates virtual walking tours, including of Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, through the lens of First Peoples. Tours provide audio at sites of cultural, political and historical significance to First Peoples. The app will feature recorded stories told by Elders, poets, musicians and other First Peoples artists including Archie Roach, Jack Charles and Kutcha Edwards.

Wedderburn Community House, Wedderburn, $40,000
Development and creation of Birds Eye View, an open-air gallery of five murals depicting the unique birdlife of the surrounding conservation area, a biodiverse habitat for 180 of Australia’s indigenous bird species, 20 of which are listed as endangered.

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