The Board 2017-18
Jenuarrie – President
2015 – current
My mother’s father’s traditional country is Koinjmal – (Eastern coastal plains of Central Queensland) and I currently reside in Cairns. I was born and educated in Rockhampton and began my career in the ARTS in 1984. I graduated from the Cairns TAFE College where I obtained an Associate Diploma in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts and completed numerous certificate courses for Adult learners to assist me to achieve higher levels of qualifications relevant to my visual arts practice as an artist and an industry arts worker. Early in my professional arts career, (1990) I chaired the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Board Visual Arts Panel and was a Committee member on their National Committee before I undertook to commit to a term on the Visual Arts, Craft and Design of the Australia Council in peer assessment and policy development. I was later nominated as a Panel Member on the Arts Advisory Committee to the Minister for the Arts in the Arts Office, Brisbane (name later changed to Arts Queensland). I managed my own arts training business enterprise as a self employed, self sufficient practicing artist with my own private workshop /studio facilities for 12 years (no grant) before commencing work as the Arts Queensland, FNQ Industry Development Consultant for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art. I held this position for 14 years until recently retiring.
Diane Forsyth – Treasurer
2012 – current
Diane Forsyth has a background in the Community Sector as a Psychotherapist. Diane has vast experiences working with at risk and disadvantaged people, owned and managed her own business and recently as an elected representative in Local Government Cairns Regional Council (2008-12) where she was able to influence and support new and innovative creative projects representing $150 million cultural entertainment precinct. Diane is active on many Boards and Councils of non-Government organisations and a board member on the Cairns Regional Art Gallery for many years. Diane remains committed to the principles of the organisation and supporting sustainable environments and appropriate tropical development with a vibrant and creative arts cultural heart in Cairns.
Velvet Eldred – Vice President
2016 – current
Velvet Eldred works across industries in Arts, therapy, profession and community theatre and disability. Her passion is inclusive theatre and has worked in regional and remote areas. Calling cairns home for the last 20 years Velvet has worked with Jute, On Edge, Tropical Arts, The Buskers Festival, Comedy Club, The Rhondo, ARC Disability Services, St John’s and Arts Nexus. Velvet worked for the Cairns Festival directing the New York Theatre Company and with Award winning documentary maker Alix Lambert (USA). Velvet also creates her own independent work Lush Cabaret which took out the Cairns Post Awards for Best Theatre 2013 and won Cairns Women of the Year 2012. Velvet has recently started making films. Velvet is an actor, theatre maker; producer, director, drummer and writer who loves to work collaboratively. She has been on the board of tropical Arts for 5 years.
Anthony Ring – Secretary
2016 – current
UK native Anthony Ring is a London trained actor and has enjoyed an international career working extensively in theatre, television and film in the UK, Australia and Japan since 1988. Since arriving in Australia he has performed in many JUTE Theatre productions, several Tropical Arts “Shakespeare at The Tanks”. Anthony is a qualified educator with experience in years one through to tertiary. More recently he has focused on writing and producing films, both feature length and shorts and has now established “Ring of Fire Productions”.
Gail Rogers – member
2016 – current
Gail Rogers is a passionate vocal coach and a strong advocate for the synchronicity between Arts and Health. She cleverly combines her clinical, business and interpersonal skills with her committee membership roles to express her strong messages on multiple levels for her local community.
With Katerini Manolatos the concept of Vocal Boot Camps was created to train clients in ways of looking after and enhance the sounds of their voices. Following this they established the Song Connection with Melissa Robertson which she remains passionate about due to the many positive outcomes this program achieved.
In her spare time Gail enjoys singing to herself, playing the piano and going to local Arts events such as listening to singers, watching plays or dancing to Latin American music.
Angela Murphy – member
2017 – current
Angela has a background in the high school, TAFE and the university sectors. She is also a playwright and storyteller. In 2005, she completed a Master of Letters in Creative Writing and in 2006, JUTE and Darwin Theatre Companies produced her first play, The Boathouse, which reflected a community’s battle to save a much-loved historic building. Her other stage plays include What are the Odds? (2011) and Stewed (2015) both produced by JUTE Theatre. Her short play, Survival Instincts resonated with audiences around Australia and was an award-winner at the Brisbane (2009), Sydney (2009) and Canberra (2010) Short and Sweet Festivals.
She is a writing mentor for individuals, researcher and writer of the Freshwater Heritage Trail (2009) and script writer for corporate theatre and video presentations. Her stories and feature articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online.
Angela is a trained facilitator, has created educational resources, business profiles and advertising material, and presented workshops throughout Queensland. She has been a writers’ festival panellist and MC, ABC Radio Far North presenter and has worked as an Editorial Consultant for the Queensland Writers Centre.
“As a professional writer/playwright, with 14 years experience, I am well connected with the Cairns arts’ community. I understand how the arts can generate holistic and balanced attitudes in life and, as a practitioner, I know about the joys and struggles arts’ workers face when pursuing their profession.”
Mareja Nae Weysenfeld – member
2017 – current
Mareja Nae Weysenfeld has been an avid supporter of the arts and culture in Cairns for many years. Her earliest memories of her interest in the art scene was going to Upstairs Gallery in the early 90’s to a Darryl Trott exhibition. In the late 90’s she was in the Arts Queensland committee when the meetings were held in Cairns Central School and Kevin Goodwin was the patron.
Nae says she is just a hobby photographer and has only exhibited some of her works a few times amid other artists. She has volunteered herself and her photographs to CADCAI in earlier times then progressed to World Aids Day, Tropical Pride, Multi Cultural events and has photographed family, friends and a business or two. A member of CADCAI for over a dozen years she was asked to become their main photographer.
Nae has been an active member of several cultural organisations and management committees including Friends of Cairns Regional Gallery where she was President in 2010 – 2011. Others include ADFAS (1999 – ), committee member as Publicity Office (2007-2010), Cairns Art Society Management Committee (2001-2002), Australian Japan Society (2006), Dante – Social member (2015 – ), current member of Kick Arts and End Credits.
Volunteered for several years with Dr Edward Koch Foundation, Art on Aplin and gallery sitter at Tanks, NAIDOC and CIAF.
Ben Keast – member
2017 – current
Benjamin Keast, Chief Executive Officer, ARC Disability Inc. has worked for ARC in a variety of roles covering Administration, Direct Support, Coordination, Health & Safety, Return to Work & Rehabilitation, Human Resources, Chief Operations Officer and currently in the role of Chief Executive Officer. ARC supports over 350 Service Users within the Cairns and Far North Community, and employs around 200 staff. Ben was a finalist in the 2013 Australian Institute of Management’s Not for Profit Manager, and in 2016 was a part of the Cairns Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Program. Ben is currently associated with a number of community groups and networks whist also completing his Master in Business Administration through the Australian Institute of Business. Benjamin is passionate about good governance and operations, as well as ensuring a truly inclusive community within all facets of life.