FOR two years Lismore promoted its Art in the Heart - a rolling series of arts' activities designed to attract people in to the CBD.
Funding for the co-ordinator's position ran out some time ago, but a group of arts, entertainment, business, tourism and education groups have come together to develop the idea further.
"We're ambitious," said Creative Lismore chairwoman Ros Derrett.
"Our vision is for Lismore to be the pre-eminent centre for the arts in regional Australia. We think we can achieve this, given the breadth of talent and skill which exists in our area."
Foundation members include Arts Northern Rivers, the former Lismore Art in the Heart Project, the Channon Gallery, Event Cinemas, Light'n'Up, the Lismore Regional Gallery and Friends of the Gallery, Northern Rivers Conservatorium Arts Centre, the Northern Rivers Entertainment Industry Alliance, NORPA, Richmond River Historical Society, the Serpentine Gallery, Star Court Theatre and Southern Cross University.
Ros Derrett said the group aims to raise the profile of existing arts activities and to foster more collaboration.
She said they would also look at ways to invest in emerging artists, by being a "broker and banker" for them, and assisting with grant applications.
Ms Derrett has just returned from Bendigo in Victoria, where she said there had been "an arts-led recovery" that had brought in substantial tourism visitors.
"The potential is here for something similar ... tourism people are working very hard, but we are looking for greater investment in the arts.
"It's about profile raising, consolidation and celebrating and promoting things that are there for locals and visitors," she said.
One of its core aims is to realise the Lismore Quadrangle project, which includes the relocation of the Lismore Regional Gallery.
Ms Derrett said the next step is to produce a Creative Lismore Strategy and then follow that up with a public forum later on in the year where everyone could learn what we have to offer and join us on the journey.