CALLING ALL CREATIVES: Storm Lahiff and Julia Keogh are calling on residents of the Southern Downs to step up and help shape their community.
CALLING ALL CREATIVES: Storm Lahiff and Julia Keogh are calling on residents of the Southern Downs to step up and help shape their community. Bianca Hrovat

Funding on the table for creative developments in Warwick

A RENAISSANCE era is dawning on the Southern Downs as leaders of Warwick's business and creative communities carve a path toward a brighter future together.

Any resident with ideas on how to add cultural richness to the Rose City is encouraged to attend a free creative networking event held by the Warwick Chamber of Commerce next Saturday.

The event aims to ignite a creative spark that will heat up the local economy and fill empty shop fronts from the Palace Hotel to Emporium Lane.

Funding from the South West Queensland Regional Arts is on the table for community ideas to be developed into a reality.

Chamber president Julia Keogh said investing in the creative sector was vital to the long term success of regional Queensland.

"For our small communities to continue to grow and thrive we need to diversify what we do,” she said.

"We need absolutely everyone and anyone in the community that may have an idea to come and see what we can do to move it to the next level.

"The chamber has really good systems and structures in place, which mean we're able to negotiate and apply for funding.”

Warwick photographer Storm Lahiff said the Chamber's support played an important role in helping Legends Laneway into the permanent development at Warwick Town Hall.

The initiative will feature photos of 12 prominent Warwick business leaders, with visitors able to use QR codes to further learn of the subject's role in strengthening the community.

"You can come up with great ideas but it's being able to implement them that can become tricky,” Mrs Lahiff said.

"The WCC work out how we can get things done.”

Renew Australia have also been in talks with the WCC to create a cultural precinct on the top side of town.

"We've been doing some elementary work to develop at least seven vacant shops,” Ms Keogh said.

"Turning that whole side of town into a creative hub is something we want to invest in.

"This feels like a re-emergence of creative industries across the Southern Downs and we're just so grateful to be able to do something like this.”

The free Arts Networking event will be held 2pm to 4pm Saturday, July 13 at the ballroom in the Criterion Hotel.

For more information contact warwickchamber@gmail.com