New and exciting changes for Creative Arts and Cultural development in Far North Queensland Regions

Arts Nexus is now operating Arts & Cultural hubs in Regional areas & seeking new Regional members across the Far North!

Arts Nexus is expanding its horizons to hear the voice of the communities and effectively support arts and cultural development in Far North Queensland. The creative arts development agency now has four Regional Arts & Cultural Coordinators working on the ground, covering an area from Cooktown to Cardwell and all the way West to Croydon.

Arts Nexus is the peak development agency for the creative sectors and communities of Tropical North Queensland and was formed in the mid nineties by Eve Stafford. Its work has pioneered community cultural participation and development in the region and has set a high standard.

Now, new innovative changes are taking place within the organization with the setting up of a network of diversified hubs with centre’s to the north, west and south of the region and Cairns itself. It is a drive to connect with new and old membership in a way that gives artists, the creative sector and cultural community participants a networked regional voice.

We would like to introduce you to the faces of our team and present to you their backgrounds and achievements within the arts industry.

Gail Betts, Art Nexus Coordinator linking the hubs together, has a background in Performance and Event Management and is also an Artist and Photographer with a recent solo exhibition at the C1907 Contemporary Arts Space in Cairns. Experienced in facilitating Cultural Arts, Events and other Training Workshops as well many years in NQ Tourism Industry as an Eco Guide, Study Tour Teacher and Consultant, Gail is well known in the region as Bass Guitarist for Kuranda Cultural Band Gudju Gudju.

Andrea Gower, Regional Arts & Cultural Coordinator for the Western Region, covering areas from Julatten to Kuranda and the entire Tablelands as far West as Croydon) – has a background in Event and Band Management and studied a Bachelor of Creative Industries at QUT Brisbane. She is well known in FNQ for Co-Directing Kuranda Roots Festival and Managing Kuranda Indigenous rock reggae band Zennith. Skilled in grant writing, workshop presenting, facilitating, mentoring, press kits, promotion and strategic planning, Andrea is passionate about community cultural development and believes that it is of utmost importance to foster the development of these kinds of projects in regional areas. She has her own business ‘Live Your Dream Productions’ with partner Marley Sharp and is working on projects with the Tablelands Music Lovers, Black Boy Tree, Save The Walsh River, Blackrobats, Circus Arts North, Herberton Rocky Mountain Sport & Rec Association and was the Cultural Coordinator for Garrandjirrin Celebration at Kuranda Roots Festival 2013. Andrea is excited to be apart of the new Arts Nexus Hub Model initiative. To find out how she can assist you can contact her at or 0458375827.

Membership is now only $10 – Please join now to keep this important organisation operating in our region! The bigger the membership base the stronger Arts Nexus becomes as an advisory and lobby group on behalf of artists in local communities.

Waratah Nicholls, Northern Region Arts & Cultural Coordinator, is covering the area from Port Douglas in the south to Laura and Hope Vale in the North. Waratah lives just south of Cooktown, deeply involved in the area's arts and culture community, she is a founding member of Cooktown Creative Arts Association and an artist herself. She has held 5 exhibitions of her brilliantly coloured silk paintings. Well known amongst Cape York Peninsula school children, she delivered a popular Arts, Craft and Drama program in remote schools for 10 years, managed the Hopevale Art and Cultural Centre for two and a half years and more recently has been collaborating with artists and local organizations, project managing public art works in Cooktown.

Kirsty Densmore, Southern Region Arts & Cultural Coordinator, covering Babinda to Cardwell. Kirsty comes to the role with a background in event management and administration. Currently studying for a BA (Internet Communications) she is a budding photographer and web designer with a large network of contacts in the region made during various events and festivals she has managed in the last five years, living on the Cassowary Coast and for some years prior working in Cairns. Kirsty is looking forward to working with the region’s talented art and cultural networks to create collaborative programs to link different sectors of the community and to help foster the growth of young artists in the area as well as liaising with the other regional coordinators to develop larger regional projects.

Deevah Melendez–Morales, Eastern Region Arts & Cultural Coordinator, covering Cairns Local Government Area. Originally from New York Deevah made Australia her home nearly twenty years ago. Deevah worked for the Cairns Regional Council as their Multicultural Arts Officer through Grafton Arts and later as their Multicultural Planning and Development Officer for ten years. During this period she was also the event manager and coordinator for the Peace Week United In Diversity Festival, a festival that she initiated in partnership with several community organisations in 2000 and continues today. She has worked as an independent consultant for the past few years, and is also a trainer in community and cultural development. Deevah is currently working with Indigenous women in Yarrabah in partnership with the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural centre to develop a mircro-enterprise venture designing and producing bags and accessories. Last year she was the project manager for the Way Back In community heritage project, to document the stories of Italian migrant families across Far North Queensland. Deevah has a passion for community cultural development for its capacity to empower and connect people from all backgrounds and abilities.

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