When Melbourne artist Jimmy DVate gets to work painting his larger-than-life murals on the side of silos and water tanks, crowds have been known to flock to see his creations take shape.
The acclaimed mural artist has recently decorated the GrainCorp silos in Rochester, Victoria with an oversized azure kingfisher and squirrel glider (both local threatened species) as part of the Silo Art Trail - a 200km collection of painted silos and water towers across Victoria. His murals at Goorambat, Gunbower and across Australia also attract thousands of visitors each year.
Now Mr DVate will be bringing a new splash of colour a huge water tank in the north-west Victorian town of Kyabram (half an hour's drive from Rochester) after years of fundraising and campaigning by the local community.
Inspired by the success of the Silo Art Trail, the Kyabram Project Committee - spearheaded by secretary Joy Salter - formed three years ago to investigate the feasibility of painting a mural in Kyabram, to attract more visitors and reinvigorate the small town.
Now the committee has been given an $80,000 grant from the Victorian Government to get the project off the ground.
The $130,000 project will see the 500sq m Goulburn Valley Water Tank transformed from a plain structure into a large-scale mural.
Mr DVate said the funding announcement is great news for the community.
"This project has been a long time in the works and it's great that we can now get started," he said.
"Kyabram's land and environment are among its most valued assets - with the awesome Kyabram Fauna Park in the centre of town an obvious inspiration. By focusing on these ideas, I look forward to creating a mural that not only looks great but will also stimulate community spirit and raise awareness of local threatened flora and fauna."
Mrs Salter said the committee was "thrilled" to get to this stage. "We just can't wait to get started," she said.
"This project will be a huge benefit to Kyabram and the surrounding towns. I have seen how Colbinabbin and other towns on the trail have been transformed as visitors flock to the region, and we believe this one project will draw many tourists to a struggling town and give us a tourism boost."
This news follows the recent announcement of other silo art projects across northern Victoria, including St Arnaud, Wedderburn, Bendigo and Picola, which will also be completed by Mr DVate.
Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp, said it was important not to underestimate the importance of these "bold projects", particularly with the impacts of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 on regional economies.
"Well done to Joy and the Kyabram Project Committee for their hard work and persistence in getting this project the funding it needs to proceed," he said.
"Projects like these reimagine old, unused structures into new and interesting public works of art - which puts small towns on the map and boosts the morale of the community."