At first glance, it may appear like an extravagant waste of taxpayers’ money.
But on second and third glance, the idea of artistically painting five barnyard silos in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell doesn’t seem that far-fetched.
Call it the rural equivalent of urban art, eye candy for the masses, a project deserving of public support especially during Canada’s 150th anniversary year.
The monumental murals now dotting a portion of the Eastern Ontario countryside are called “Popsilos” for a reason. Silos that have been dressed up by professional artists “pop” out of their barnyards, serving as beacons in drawing tourists to the respective farms and to agriculture in general.
The question really is why didn’t somebody think of using silos in an organized way as message delivering canvasses before now?
Decorated with everything from an eagle and a gigantic crow, to colourful cattails and human figures, the silos make for traffic-stopping works of art.
Dozens of cars have been pulling over, with occupants taking photos and short walks around participating farms where owners say they appreciate the opportunity to educate city dwellers and other non-farmers about the intricacies of their profession.
Open through Oct. 31, the merger of an urban art style with a rural backdrop is the first of its kind in Canada. The entrepreneurs who came up with the concept deserve and are receiving kudos.
The new Popsilos route offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing the region to distinguish itself as a destination from similar rural settings.
Also deserving kudos is Prescott and Russell and its agricultural community which have demonstrated over 20 years several innovative programs in linking local producers with consumers, starting with Agri-tour, a guided drive through the countryside with stops at various farms.
Then came an annual food fair, Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network, field-to-fork gourmet dinners, and a local products counter in area grocery stores.
What’ll they think of next?