Paint it and they will come

Community stories: 20 June 2019

Towering grain silos are a common fixture in many rural towns across Australia and increasingly they are being transformed into incredible works of art. FRRR and its donor partners have supported a number of these projects, and we are seeing not only the economic difference it is making but also the evidence of increased social cohesion. Communities are coming together, stories are being shared, and the impacts of remoteness and isolation are being reduced.

One such community is Barraba, in the New England region of NSW, which received a Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) grant for $22,088, funded by the Australian Government. The painting of their grain silos created a major attraction, which has been an uplifting and widely accessible cultural experience highlighting the wonderful artistic culture and rural life that are very much a part of Barraba. It will be a key driver in supporting and developing local economic recovery and renewal.  WATCH this video to see the amazing transformation

Silo art in Wirrabara in South Australia is stimulating the local economy in a different way, after the local Progress Association received a TTTT grant for $16,810 (also funded by the Australian Government) to erect a park shelter. This gives tourists a place to rest as they view the silos. Local businesses currently experiencing hardship due to the drought conditions will be engaged to help create the facility, providing much-needed support for the struggling community.

But perhaps one of the most impactful examples is the wheat and cereal growing community of Pingrup some 400 km south-east of Perth. A $15,000 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant enabled the Pingrup Community Resource Centre (CRC) to be part of a multi­-regional initiative, created and delivered by FORM, WA, to transform significant Western Australian infrastructure icons into artworks, creating a cultural tourism trail that enables regional communities to reap economic and social benefits through increased profile, visitation, employment, capacity, and importantly pride of place.

With the anticipated increase in flow-through traffic, the Pingrup CRC purchased the town’s cafe, which had closed its doors earlier in the year. In the first six months of opening the Store Café’s turnover reached $100,000!

The Pingrup silo project attracted much media coverage including featuring in Destinations WA, The Australian, Delicious magazine, Qantas magazine, Audi Magazine, Urban list, Taste Magazine and Broadsheet, to name a few. It has connected Pingrup to other communities across the region, providing potential opportunities to the community for economic diversification through increased visitation, youth engagement to foster community pride and participation. The intangible value is priceless.

It is well worth reading more of their stories to get a glimpse into what it is like living in rural, regional and remote Australia, the challenges they have but above all the internal strength and community spirit, which is inspirational.