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Silo art idea on the rise, thanks to Big Picture Fest


The Big Picture Festival has done more than just add a splash of colour to the former steel city.

Held across the Labour Day long weekend in October, the three-day event has reignited a community push to make street art a permanent feature within Newcastle.

The festival featured the designing and painting of several iconic central buildings including The Museum Park, Foghorn Brewery, Civic Theatre and the corner of King and Union streets.

It involved 14 artists and cost the City of Newcastle almost $170,000.

Novocastrians for Change are using the success of the event to renew calls for Newcastle to feature in the state’s silo art trail.

The group, consisting of five volunteers, is hoping to include the giant art as a tourism drawcard.

They would like to see artworks painted on the silos located at Carrington.

The proposed site for silo art in Carrington

“We would like to see a coal or steel theme painted on the silos which could be added to tours of the harbour for William the Fourth, and a colourful first impression when future cruise ship tourists come in to dock,” a spokesperson for the group said.

The social media group, which prefers its members remain anonymous, promotes itself as a place for “discussion and ideas for the future of Newcastle, standing up to activist groups who are determined to hold Newcastle back for their political agendas”.

Their pledge is to share Newcastle’s positive progressions.

“After decades of stagnation, Newcastle is finally changing for the better.

“We are here to share ideas, discuss the ongoing projects, progress and what’s great about our amazing city.”

The group said the community had been “very responsive and supportive of the idea” of including silo art in the city.

“Since the Big Picture Festival, many people in the community have now seen how much the large art has had an impact across the city and have even suggested it happen through the community consultation currently happening,” it said.

“We have pushed for the idea for a few years now.”

Its followers have shown support, with 57 offering positive comments online and a few even suggesting the group apply to the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund for financial assistance.

The NPCC funding allocates up to $1 million each year to projects that “make the harbor a preferred place to live, work and play.”

The only hesitation the group’s followers have raised is the silos being used for advertising purposes. Most, however, are enthusiastic about the large structures reflecting the city’s past.

“So much blood and sweat for years within the industrial era should be part of this art as it is part of the Newcastle heritage history,” one follower said.

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