In 2020, Heesco Town Yarram officially became Australia’s Best Street Trail.
Nominated by the Friends of Heesco Town, the Yarram – Heesco Town mural trail received the highly coveted Gold Award for the Best Street Art Trail at the 2020 Australian Street Art Awards, announced on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Heesco Town nudged out the Maryborough Mural Trail, 37 pieces in what was once Queensland’s major port town which took out the Silver Award, and Bronze Award winner, Heartwalk CBD, a trail of 60 murals through the centre of WA’s Kalgoorlie by renowned local, national and international artists.
The Australian Street Art Awards encourages Australians to explore the world-class street and public art that is safely accessible all year round and found in every corner of the country.
With rigorous judging by tourism leaders from across Australia and abroad, plus second-tier auditing and due diligence, Yarram’s win has the credence of the art tourism sector.
The judges said, “This unique take on transforming a town is contributing significantly to making Australia a more vibrant, creative and interesting country – somewhere visitors will want to explore more keenly”.
Arts tourists from within Australia are high value visitors – they stay 42.8% longer and spend 55.9% more when travelling than domestic tourists overall, according to the Australia Council for the Arts’ Domestic Art Tourism 2020 Report.
Awards Director, Liz Rivers, added “Australia has a long history of creating superlative public art that captivates visitors. Until these Awards were launched in 2019 though there had never been a way of rewarding and supporting places like Yarram that created these art-related experiences for travellers. The Australian Street Art Awards remedied that shortcoming.” She also stated.
“Public art has now come into its own with the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirming there is less risk of coronavirus infection in open outdoor settings. That makes trips to see outdoor murals, sculptures, monuments and mega pieces like silo art the perfect holiday thrill.”
At the time,17 murals were completed. The number is now 24, all by internationally renowned street and silo artist Heesco Khosnaran.
In commenting on the success of Yarram – Heesco Town, the judges said “Your ‘no lengthy grant applications and no Council involvement’ policy is a remarkably refreshing, bold, courageous and unmatched approach to transforming an entire town, and the fact that you achieved what you set out to do in only a few months beggars belief and is truly inspirational”.