Funding shortfall may halt equine sculpture
PLANS for a big horse sculpture may have to be shelved, if organisers can't generate more financial support.
Artist John Simpson and his financial director, Dr Henry Osiecki, are in the process of resubmitting an application for an Anzac 100 grant.
The men are seeking $80,000 to add to the $25,000 generated through local support so far.
Dr Osiecki said that although he was staying optimistic the grant would be approved, their options were running out.
He is now calling on the Southern Downs Regional Council to throw their support and chequebook behind the project.
Dr Osiecki said a financial commitment by the council, even if only a small one, would increase their chances of State Government support.
"Even if it's five or 10 grand, it says to the people that the council really is behind it and it means much more than a letter from the mayor," he said.
"The council has said they agree with the project in principle, but they haven't given us any financial support."
Dr Osiecki said he had no doubt the sculpture, when erected, would increase tourism to the Southern Downs.
"Warwick is a horse city whether you like it or not - it is revheads at Morgan Park and horse people and we should celebrate that.
"This program is not just about the heroic sacrifice of the Light Horsemen, but will bring people to Warwick to see the sculpture as we envisage it," he said.
"It could bring in tourism, be used as a celebratory thing at Anzac Day, for a horse show or rodeo - there is a lot to do with it, you just need a focus."
Mr Simpson said he had no doubt the sculpture would one day be towering over the city entrance.
"Henry Osiecki and I ask you to remain positive while this process is going on for we know the sculpture will be built and will have tremendous benefits for our district," Mr Simpson said.
Southern Downs Regional Council manager of community services Sheila Stebbings said the council would not provide funding for the project.
"From the initial discussions it was made clear that council would not be funding the construction of the sculpture, but would assist in any other way possible," she said.
Ms Stebbings said that following a community engagement survey, which showed majority support for the sculpture, the council conditionally agreed to accept the sculpture donation.
"Council has agreed to take on the whole-of-life costs if the sculpture was to be installed at Queen's Park, for example, repowder-coating the icons, repaint pylons and maintaining gardens and lighting," she said.
"Council has supported the process including assistance with community engagement, putting information forward to council meetings and identifying sources of external funding.
"Community Services staff members have spent time with the artist assisting him with funding applications and helping him through processes with other council departments."
"It would be disappointing to see this project not proceed. However, council would urge the artist and organisers to continue to seek funding."