FIRST STAGE: The late artist John Simpson succeeded in turning heads with his impressive sculpture, now the WCC wants to expand his idea further.
FIRST STAGE: The late artist John Simpson succeeded in turning heads with his impressive sculpture, now the WCC wants to expand his idea further. Steven J Kasper

Mane event yet to come: Horsepower inspires CBD projects

HORSEPOWER is propelling Warwick's creative community forward as local artists take the lead from the late John Simpson.

A branding initiative to publicise and extend Warwick's reputation as the Horsepower Capital of Australia was kickstarted at the Warwick Chamber of Commerce's Arts Networking Event over the weekend.

WCC president Julia Keogh said Mr Simpson's head-turning homage to horses was the first step to ensuring drivers stop to spend time and money in town.

"Now more than ever we need to look at what we do and what we do well to start developing that influx of money into our community,” she said.

More than 35 people hoofed it to the ballroom of the Criterion Hotel to brainstorm how to expand on Mr Simpson's idea and revitalise the main streets.

Ms Keogh reported it didn't take long to get the creative juices flowing.

"It definitely exceeded my expectations,” she said.

"They were thinking large building murals and quirky laneway revitalisation projects.

"You name it, everything is on the table.”

The chamber hopes to inspire creatives to look beyond traditional means of horsepower and on to its evolution, as featured in Warwick's strong, established attractions such as Morgan Park and the Southern Downs Steam Railway.

"We're taking it from horse to horsepower,” Ms Keogh said.

"The chamber has a vision for what we can achieve through bringing those groups together under that banner.

"We want to engage with everyone from pony clubs to dirt bikes to recreational aircraft.”

With the assistance of the South Western Regional Arts Fund the WCC aims to take community consultations to the next level, turning ideas into achievable projects they're able to guide through to completion.

"This signals the start of the revitalisation of the CBD area,” Ms Keogh said.

"This is about bringing the community together and really showcasing what we have here.”

Warwick residents wanting to get involved are encouraged to contact the WCC on warwickchamber@gmail.com or attend the next networking evening in the Allman Room at the Criterion Hotel on July 30.



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