Creative communities / New local leadership for Arts Nexus

Former Douglas Shire Mayor, Julia Leu, is taking over the reins as new President of Arts Nexus. Arts Nexus is a non-government, “for-purpose” community based entity, revitalising and expanding its operational capacity to equip the Far North Queensland arts, cultural and creative industries sector to be a significant partner in the cultural, social and economic development of the region, Queensland and Australia.

Julia’s background in local government and her extensive experience in community, economic and cultural development is the right mix to take Arts Nexus forward in these challenging times.

Julia Leu is a local Council veteran with over 26 years’ experience, and was Mayor of the Douglas Shire Council from 2014 until March 2020, following six years as an independent Councillor with Cairns Regional Council. During that time she was involved with numerous innovative and creative local arts and cultural projects. Julia has been involved in Arts Nexus since its inception, as a founding member and encouraged Douglas to be the first Council to officially sign up. As a Community Development Officer, she was involved in establishing the Mossman Douglas Arts Base and was the Regional Arts Development Fund Liaison Officer. Julia also has over 10 years’ experience working in the federal public sector, across diverse communities in Cape York and the Torres Strait, including senior roles in community services and Indigenous education. A passionate advocate for regional communities, Indigenous enterprise, environmental, cultural and social sustainability, Julia values cultural diversity, heritage and inclusiveness.

Julia holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diplomas in Education and Communication (Film & TV Production).  Currently State Library Board of Queensland member and the Chair of the Public Library Advisory Group and a former director of the Australian Coastal Councils Association, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Regional Development Australia, Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Inc, Terrain NRM and the Northern Alliance of Councils Inc.

“I intend to be a strong advocate for our sector and build on the awesome work already achieved. I have very big shoes to fill and look forward to working with the 2020 Committee, as we have some exciting plans ahead”.  Julia paid tribute to outgoing President Jenuarrie,

  “Jenuarrie has done an exceptional job over the last five years and is recognised as an iconic leader in the arts and creative industry with an international reputation.”

“The diversity and talent of our arts and cultural sector continues to impress and amaze me, but it has suffered greatly under the pandemic…it is an irony that artists have provided entertainment and joy for those in lockdown under extraordinary conditions, without the government support provided to most other sectors of the economy.”

Arts Nexus President, Julia Leu

“The creative industries sector must be recognised and respected as an integral part of our regions’ economy. Our talented artists enrich our lives, showcase our unique area and create exciting initiatives for everyone to prosper and enjoy”, Ms Leu said.

This comes at an exciting time in the organisation’s 25-year history of providing support, capacity building and services to the arts and cultural sector of our region. 

In more exciting news for Arts Nexus, the organisation has been contracted as the Far North Queensland provider for the Regional Arts Services Network (RASN), working in partnership with the Cook Shire Council hosted RASN Regional Arts Officer for Cape York and Torres Strait Islands.

RASN, an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, is a network of regional arts service providers who, supported by the State Coordination Office, work together to deliver on-the-ground arts services and development in communities across the State.

Working with the other six RASN providers across Queensland, Arts Nexus joins the Regional Arts Services Network, who have contributed to building a strong arts and cultural network that are delivering support and driving initiatives with outcomes that align with regional priorities.

Arts Nexus’s objective is to advocate for the arts, cultural and creative industry practitioners, partnerships and engagement with government and various industries.  Coordinating and building the Regional Arts Services Network is the culmination of many years work by many of our Cultural Leaders.

The Regional Arts Services Network was developed in response to consultation with more than 330 stakeholders. The Queensland Government has committed $6.5 million to RASN from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to build capacity, support collaboration, and leverage the value of the arts to achieve social and economic outcomes.


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