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Public toilet blocks transformed into works of art

Seven amenities blocks in the northern part of the Southern Downs will be transformed in the coming weeks by artwork.  The project is being coordinated by Warwick Art Gallery with support from Southern Downs Regional Council with the aim to invigorate the spaces, attract visitors and generate community pride.


After many years of drought, events and tourism has kept the economy ticking and maintained community involvement despite the hardship. The Arts is an integral part of the tourism culture as it celebrates community identity and highlights what makes a town or village unique.


Even the most practical and functional facilities can be transformed by art. The remarkable success of the Graincorp Silo Art Trail, where public artworks have become major tourist attractions across regional Australia, add charm to previously overlooked spaces.


Warwick Art Gallery Director Karina Devine embraced the project by inviting Queensland artists to submit proposals with the broad aim to improve the visual amenity and vibrancy of parks and public spaces with artworks that are interesting, fun and captivating.


“It was very important, when making our selections, that each of the artworks were authentic to the artist’s practice as well as having public appeal,” said Ms Devine, “The assessment panel and I are thrilled with the final choices we made engaging four Southern Downs artists as well as Brisbane artists Emily Devers and Elysha Rei, and Toowoomba artist Karri McPherson


Karri McPherson is a contemporary painter and muralist living in Toowoomba. She is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours) at the University of Southern Queensland. Karri’s explores geometric art in relation to the spatial confinements of outdoor locations. These large-scale paintings celebrate the power of geometric art by infusing Australian communities with the timeless beauty of shape, form and colour. Her artworks are very site-specific, responding to unique characters from each location – this allows each work to celebrate a locations’ individuality by drawing on elements from the surrounding environment.


Karri is creating a wrap around artwork for the amenities block at Mile End Park.  She commenced working on her artwork very early on Easter Monday morning and will be working at the site until Wednesday the 24th of April.


The complete list of artists engaged for the project and locations are:


Karri McPherson – Mile End Park, Warwick

Nikki Woods – Browns Falls Park, Killarney   

Sue Keong – Liberator Park, Leyburn

Louise Tait – Dalrymple Creek Park, Allora

Emily Devers – Australiana Park, Warwick

Kerry Nicholson and Malcolm Nicholson – Victoria Park, Warwick

Elysha Rei – Grafton Street, Warwick


Southern Downs Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Finance, Governance and The Arts Jo McNally said the project reflects the region’s passion for the arts and culture.


“The Southern Downs is a progressive region, and this art project demonstrates how we are always looking for new ways to express ourselves creatively and make our region more vibrant,” Cr McNally said.


“Council is proud to support this project and I can’t wait to see the finished products.”


Information about each of the participating artists and the stories about their artwork are on the Warwick Art Gallery website under “Special Projects”.


Public toilet artwork by Completed Karri McPherson A_resized

Artist Karri McPherson brought to life the public toilet block at Mile End Park in Warwick. 

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