We’ve all seen them as we drive past farms–big barns, big silos, and often a little weatherworn.
A movement begun during Canada’s 150th anniversary is turning these huge silos into works of art.
Jennifer Larocque and Mathieu Mault, co-founders of a Montreal boutique consulting and project management firm, Activar, are behind the effort after receiving a federal grant for anniversary projects in 2017. A team of artists from Ashop, an artist-run collective in Montreal, are co-producers of the project called ‘Popsilos’.
Quoted on apt613.ca, she said, “ The merger of urban and rural creates a new Canadian experience, in a circuit, unexpected and sensorial, a first for Canada.”
Although Canada’s 150th birthday has come and gone, the project continues, with two more art-silos added this year from ongoing grant funding to pay for the artists living expenses, materials, and various supplies and rental equipment needed to create the works. A mural on the roughly 18 or 19 metre silos (the largest painted silo is 30m at Vankleek Hill Vinyards) can take up to four weeks with costs around $40,000 each.
It’s also not an easy project to paint such tall murals, requiring working from specialised equipment and many trips up and down to view progress from the ground at a distance.
There are now several such decorated silos in the farmland of eastern Ontario in the united counties of Prescott-Russell where Larocque and Mault grew up. Larocque in Casselman, and Mault in Rockland.
The idea was inspired during a trip to Scotland where they saw Kelburn Castle, a large medieval house which had been covered with colourful paintings by Brazilian artists.
As most of the farms are open for farmgate sales, the murals bring in viewers who often become added customers. Each farm has operating hours for the public for closer viewing, but all artworks can be seen from the roadways.
Some of the stops feature food as well, and there are many locations for food and drink along the Popsilos route.
- Ottawa Road Trips: Canada 150; Popsilos tour in Prescott-Russell, Ontario
- apt613.ca: G Clark: Jul 7/17: New murals are popping up on farm silos in the region
- Canadian Blog House: Sandy: Jul 13/17: Popsilos: Urban art comes to the rural farms of Prescott-Russell
- CBC: D Babin: Jun 10/17: Pop go the silos in unique rural art attraction
- North Country Public Radio: J Morgan: Jun 17/17: ‘Popsilos’ in rural Prescott-Russell, Ontario