Current board

The Board 2023 – 2024

(as at the Annual General Meeting held on the 16 August, 2023)

Jenuarrie – President

2023 – current

Jenuarrie’s Traditional country is Koinjmal (eastern coastal plains of Central Queensland). She was born and educated in Rockhampton and began a career in the arts in 1984 after graduating from the Cairns TAFE College with an Associate Diploma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts (3 years).

She completed numerous certificate courses for adult learners achieving higher qualification levels relevant to her visual arts practice as an artist and industry arts worker. She has been Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Board Visual Arts Panel, Committee member on their National Committee and Visual Arts, Craft and Design of the Australia Council peer assessment and policy development in the beginning of her career. She was a Panel Member on the Arts Advisory Committee to the Minister for the Arts in the Arts Office (now Arts Queensland) in those early years and worked for 14 years with Arts Queensland as the FNQ Industry Development Consultant, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art until retiring in 2012 to write and publish her book. 

Jenuarrie resides and works in Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Country and pays respect to wise Elders past, present and emerging.

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.

Elani Butler – Secretariat

2023 – current

Elani was born and grew up in PNG and the island’s flora fauna and people has had an indelible effect on most of her life path and direction.  Elani is an independent artist, event manager, wellbeing coach and environmental activist. 

As a singer songwriter, Elani has recorded 4 albums and toured locally, nationally and globally,  playing in such festivals as Splendour in the Grass, Bryon Bay Blues Festival, Island Vibe, and Byron Spirit Festival.  

Elani has produced and collaborated with countless projects, events and festivals. Some of these being, Island Rhythms, Rainbow Corroboree, Buninj Buthrum and Sea Shepherd fundraisers.  

Throughout the decades our Natural World and First Nations Culture have remained at the core of all her endeavours. 

Susan Jackson James

2023 – current

Susan has been exposed to extensive and diverse artistic influences, with her visual arts style evolving from a traditional aesthetic to a style that challenges boundaries.  Based on an eclectic mix of real life images that have triggered an emotive response that resonates with my personal life experience and values.  

Achieving her Diploma Visual Arts from TAFE North, Cairns (2016), mentored by Greg Dwyer (Cairns), inspired by a Painting Technique Workshop at Cairns Regional Gallery (2010), Susan found her way to being an artist later in life.  Now an active volunteer in the community and an regular at the Arts Nexus Studio, Susan brings a unique perspective to the committee as an life-long learner and arts practitioner.

Mark Both

2023 – current

Mark Both has worked in creative industries for forty years, including in radio, tourism, photography, music, poetry, writing, cultural education, festivals and events.

He spent five years promoting Australian culture in the International Schools network overseas, and has published his photography and poetry.

As a performer, Mark has given presentations internationally, and at over 100 folk festivals in Queensland and other states. He ran the Tablelands Folk Festival for seven years, is now a Life Member, and has been on the board of the Australian Folk Trust.

He worked in grant funding, community and arts development for Tablelands Regional Council for twelve years, and taught creative writing recovery courses for Cairns Mental health programs for six years.

Mark is an advocate for helping people to access and develop the powerful benefits of creativity, especially through the arts, in all its forms.

Neal Robinson

2023 – current

An aspiring Silversmith and casting technician, an avid consumer of performing arts, Neal has a love of theatre, festivals, music and concerts.   He had the great privilege of being mentored in the craft of wood carving from Kuranda based Master Craftsman, John Williams.  Member of End Credits and Tropical Arts and has now worked on two productions of “Shakespeare at the Tanks” utilizing his skills for set building and costume making and was a regular participant of Song Connection socially inclusive performance group.  Neal brings to the board skills in human resource management, 20 years working for local government and previously on the management committee from 2014-2016, having supported Arts Nexus since it’s inception. Born and bred in Far North Queensland, Neal is committed to ensuring our community has access to arts and culture.

Cheryl Taylor-White

2024 – current (coopted)

Cheryl’s interest in the visual arts commenced in adolescence having been exposed to several art forms by family members who themselves dabbled in several mediums visual painting, theatre, music and sculpting. Later selling works as a high school student at local events and galleries (charcoal medium and pen and ink collages).

Began work in the scientific field of clinical Immunology before migration – specialized in field free radial research, eg auto immune. A USA migrant in 1988 to Australia Cheryl worked as coordinator (5 years) for “YouthLink”, an adolescent health centre in Cairns, expanding its reach into other social services addressing the needs of disenfranchised youth 12-25 year olds. This journey was very rewarding when working with sexual health messaging at the time, AIDs eduction, blood borne diseases etc.

Here too the arts played a significant role in supporting the expression of young people and in promoting partnerships with the creative arts organizations that emerged and were sustained; Jute Theatre, Graft’N’Arts, etc   

As Legal compliance Officer Cairns City Council (5 years) Cheryl was responsible to 120 pieces of regulatory legislation whilst promoting compliance training and practices for 1000 strong and very diverse skilled staff cohort. Role was also tasked as Secretariat to Audit Committee, Office of local Govt Ombudsman, and reported on matters of concern raised within Council to the CCC as required. Position was made redundant in preference for appointed legal services following an election year. Moved to a role with state government in accepting an appointment as Coordinator in expansion of Restorative Justice framework in the FNQ catchment.  

Life’s experiences as both an industry person (owned and operated 3 businesses) and that of a long standing public servant. Currently Cheryl’s work focus is holistically aligned with community development and early intervention when addressing vulnerable young people and their families who are over represented in the legal / justice system, based at the Cairns Safer Streets program.