Portland Silos to be transformed into Art

Portland Cement Works is set to become a major tourist attraction for the small town with the announcement this week that world renowned artist Guido van Helten will be painting the silos in his iconic style.

On Wednesday evening site owners AWJ Civil organised a community consultation in the town to formally announce the project and introduce Guido to the community.

Interested locals were treated to an insight of Guido’s work from his presentation and a short documentary movie that detailed his process through a recent project at Manildra painting portraits on train carriages.
The silos were revealed in all their glory when the old cement store building was demolished in recent years, and the addition of a mural will be a definite tourist attraction for the small town.
Guido will be in Portland over the next week interviewing locals and talking to them to understand their stories, which forms a large part of his process of painting. He has however hinted their may be some inclusions in this work influenced by the heritage value of the site, as well the colours and the textures of the buildings.
“Being able to secure Guido to create one of his iconic artworks on the silos has been a huge win for this project and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with,” said Kris Leck of Catalyst Project Consulting, the lead consultant on The Foundations project.
“I’m very proud to be working with such a philanthropic client, that is prepared to invest in a project such as this,” Kris continued.
That philanthropic client is owner of The Foundations, Martin O’Connell, Managing Director of AWJ Civil.
“Guido’s work came to our attention around the time of his project in Brim, and we knew right away that if we wanted to create something special, he was the person to do it,” said Mr O’Connell

“The philosophy and tagline of the development we are planning is to Discover Portland’s Story, and we believe that this project is very complimentary to that,” Mr O’Connell continued.

Commissioning a significant public artwork is not normally the first thing a developer would do on a site, but Mr O’Connell believes the by doing this it creates a destination of interest in Portland which will be of benefit to the whole community and also the potential of their ongoing plans on the site.
Guido’s artworks adorn buildings all over the world including Sicily, the United States, Ukraine, Finland, Poland, Belgium, as well as locations around Australia. This will be his only regional NSW project, making it a unique attraction for the many fans that travel far and wide to see his work.
After his initial research phase Guido will be back in Portland throughout April this year to complete the work.

In very welcome news for locals and tourists alike, AWJ Civil, owners of the site have begun plans to allow fenced access to the site during this time so people can get up close and watch the master painter at work.
Portland is fast becoming a town full of wonderful murals and artworks and this new addition is sure to add to the value of the murals already completed around town by the Wallnuts.
If you would like to get in touch with Guido during his time in Portland the best option is via email on info@guidovanhelten.com
Pictured top: Kris Leck, Guido Van Helten and Martin O’Connell on site as day breaks on Thursday morning.