AGRICULTURAL art has taken off as a tourism trend with the popular silo art trail in the Wimmera-Mallee, and South Gippsland is about to follow suit, in our own unique way.

Not to be confused with the similar sounding rail trail, the Great Southern Bale Trail will celebrate the critical work of farmers while allowing artists to showcase their creativity in a unique format using hay bales as their medium.

Auspiced by the South Gippsland Shire Council as part of its COVID-19 Community Support Package, an art trail of six creative installations on properties across the municipality will be in place and attracting tourists in autumn 2021.

The project is being coordinated on behalf of the council by Louisa Vale, a mum of two who runs a 44.5-hectare beef property in Toora North.

An artist in her spare time, Louisa is excited about the new project and the chance to combine her love of art and farming.

“I enjoy making art and especially like big projects. This is the first time a project of this scale has run in South Gippsland and I’m very excited to see what develops. We would love to see local farmers and artists put their hands up to be involved,” Louisa said.

“Interested farmers can nominate to create an installation on their farm or work with a local artist to create something together or simply offer their property to host an artwork.

“Interested artists are welcome to pitch an idea – even if they don’t have a particular farmer in mind to work with – as we may be able to match an artist with a farmer to create a really special installation. There are just so many possibilities.”

Council is looking for six local artists and six farmers to help turn the bale trail vision into a reality.

Artists will work with farmers to design and make the installations from either silage, old farm machinery, existing fencing or sheds. They will be based around the theme of ‘seasonal cycles’.

Farmers will also have the option to make their own creation or simply make their property available for artists to use for the project.

All installations will be temporary and viewable from a publicly accessible road.

A map will be made to document the projects, outlining a trail of creative exploration for locals and visitors.

Interested artists and farmers can get more information by visiting southgippsland.vic.gov.au/gsbt or emailing mary.sullican@southgippsland.vic.gov.au.

Expressions of interest close 5pm, February 15.