Ukitopia Arts collective is a dynamic and strong arts organisation based in Uki and founded in 2007, promoting the diverse and exciting creative industries of the Tweed Valley region.
As a volunteer non- profit organisation, Ukitopia is run by a dedicated executive or core crew committee of 8 members made up of – practicing and experienced artists, musicians, performers, small business mentors and events organizers, working with a growing membership base of over 120.
Ukitopia was formed to satisfy recognised needs in the community for more arts and community events, activities for youth and to build a stronger economy based around the arts in Uki and in the Tweed Shire, a region “noted in the Northern Rivers Arts and Creative Industries Strategy 2008-2012 as the key `hot-spot’ for the State’s creative industries beyond Sydney.”
To date, Ukitopia are the only arts organization in the district to offer :artistic and cultural nourishment, support and access to all artistic and creative disciplines, community groups,the youth sector, local Indigenous culture, emerging and semi-professional artists, and audience.
Supporting artistic and cultural diversity in Uki and in the Tweed Shire builds economy and a sense of place and belonging.
Testimony to Ukitopia’s increasing popularity and growing reputation most events are being extended to meet public demands. Ukitopia Arts Collective provides a truly valuable arts experience and training opportunity to the community.
2011 Year’s highlights
1. October Songwriters on the Songline
2. November Ukitopia Festival
3. April 17 Honour Our Elders Day
4. June 4 Songwriters on the Songline
5. June 25 & 26 Cabaret 360
6. August 6 Songwriters on the Songline
7. September 28 Membership Renewal Party : Spring Fling
8. September 19 Annual general meeting
Current Committee members are:
Patron: Ida Daley
President Natascha Wernick ( Babareki Business & Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce)
Vice President Sue Mckenna ( KitnKaboodle)
Chair Person Bruce Ray
Secretary Thomas Bailey
Treasurer Geoffrey Colwill
Committee members Jake Mann, Elenor Sapir, Hamilton Barnett, Michele Bevis
Mission and Objectives
Ukitopia Arts Collective is a membership organisation specifically targeted at building creative industries in this regional area by providing business support, employment, performance, workshop and mentoring opportunities for both youth and adults in the Tweed Shire.
· To nurture, support, and promote arts and culture in Uki, through initiating events and programs that bring the arts to the community and the community to the arts.
· To create opportunities for the diversity of local artists to develop, sustain and share their work with the wider community.
· To celebrate the unique flavour and atmosphere of Uki – the place and the people – and to strengthen the community.
1. to establish and develop a creative industries infrastructure
2. to provide opportunities for all sections of the Uki and district community to participate in creative programs
3. to assist the professional development of Uki and district artists
4. to create events that will strengthen and celebrate the uniqueness of the Uki community.
5. to ensure that the actions of the Uki Arts Collective are transparent and open to community consultation.
Priorities underpinning objectives
- Community cultural development
- Creative industries development
- Cultural tourism development
- Advocacy, marketing and communications
Uki is an historical village situated in the heart of the Mt Warning caldera, Tweed Shire, Northern New South Wales. Geographically we are 2 hours from Brisbane, 1 ½ hours from the Gold Coast, 40 minutes from Byron Bay and 15 minutes from our closest shopping centre, Murwillumbah. We are surrounded by rainforest covered mountains and creeks and travel on meandering roads which separate the many small villages in the region. This geography although beautiful creates isolation.
White settlement of the area commenced in the 1840s based largely on the exploitation of the vast high grade timber resource in the local area. Dairying and banana farming followed for a period with soldier settlements clearing the land. To this day agriculture has remained an important part of the local economy. Now the district is home to an eclectic mix of the descendants of these early settlers and later arrivals.
The later arrivals, including tree changers, have been attracted to this region for its alternative lifestyles and artistic energy and many have created their own small businesses as a result. The village of Uki boasts a café, a Pub, a takeaway and general store, a post office, a bakery, a primary school, a pharmacy, a dentist, a pottery studio and gallery, a book shop, few gift shops and a hair dresser. Most of the retail businesses are constantly struggling and many rely on the inconsistent tourist trade.
The community spirit is strong in Uki with 25 community groups and council and Department of State and Regional Development supported Community Development, Action and Sustainability plans being undertaken in the last 5 years.
In this region there is disproportional number of artists and many say Uki has the highest amount of artists per capita than anywhere else in the world.
According to the 2001 and 2006 census, employment in the arts and creative industries in Northern Rivers grew 25% faster year on year than the rest of the regional economy.”(Northern Rivers Arts and Creative Industries Strategy 2008-2012).
Research and studies in recent years supports the need for a program such as the one Ukitopia is providing.
• The New South Wales State Plan says E8(c): Increase visitation and participation in the arts and cultural activity by 10 per cent by 2016.
• In Northern Rivers Arts and Creative Industries Strategy 2008-2012 they aspire to the goals of Education, training and professional development; Access and lifestyle; Infrastructure and Innovation and product development.
• In the Northern Rivers Area Consultative Committee Strategic Plan ( 2005-2007), the creative industries are noted as one of the” main industries that will drive economic growth in the coming years” and they have noted it as one of their strategic priorities” to promote the arts, and achievement in the arts.
• And on a micro scale: The Uki Strategic Plan of 2000 identified theses needs: to establish an annual Youth Music Concert/Competition; Incorporate town theme through all arts and sculpture; Develop a Uki Arts Festival; Uki locality Plan in 2006: identified the need for management strategies for community market and/or festival events; and in the Uki Strategic Development Plan 2007 the participants also noted arts and culture as areas to be developed.
In 2007 at the same time as the Uki Strategic development plan was being undertaken in Uki, the artists began gathering and put forward the iniative to begin a arts organisation to support the artists in this region. In May 2008 we held our first arts dinner to present our concept to the community and to get their feedback.
In August 08 Ukitopia became an incorporated association and had our first general meeting electing the current members. Although the committee members have changed the elected bodies have remained essentially the same.
The committee is the driving force behind Ukitopia. It is the energy of the committee who meet weekly at the Uki Café that determines the strength of the project.
Contact: Natascha Wernick, President, email: ukitopiaatgmail.com