Two new leaders in Lake Macquarie’s thriving arts community have vowed to drive innovation and creativity to cement the city’s reputation as a regional powerhouse.
Lake Macquarie City Council manager arts, culture and tourism Jacqui Hemsley said the recently-created position of arts producer – Lake Arts Precinct had been filled by internationally-recognised professional Martina Mrongovius.
As well as having a storied science and educational background, Mrongovius was creative director for the Center for the Holographic Arts in New York; and has worked in the industry in Europe and Melbourne.
The latest role will be responsible for overseeing the city’s activities and venues, including the Museum of Art and Culture (MAC) at Booragul.
Meanwhile, former Melbourne-based Pippa Budge has started her position as curator of the Multi Arts Pavilion (MAP) – due to open later this year at Speers Point Park.
She’s previously worked at Museums Victoria, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
“New, fresh ideas, change and inclusion are major drivers for a successful creative city, and Lake Macquarie is no different,” Ms Hemsley said.
“Both Pippa and Martina are ambitious and excited by the potential here in Lake Macquarie.
“And, with their professional and contemporary international experience, these new professionals will lead a new direction for MAC, MAP and the opportunities that the Lake Arts Precinct will offer in promoting Lake Macquarie as a cultural destination.”
Mrongovius said she would focus on developing programs and projects that supported professional practice and strengthened arts networks throughout the city and region.
“My career has focused on light art, emergent media and projects on waterways,” she explained.
“This new role is an opportunity to bring these passions together and support innovative arts that consider both nature and technology.”
Construction of the $3.5 million Australian-first Multi Arts Pavilion is expected to be completed in July, with expressions of interest now open for illuminated and public art.
Budge said she wanted to work with local, emerging artists to create works that celebrated Lake Macquarie and connected with contemporary art practices.
“I see MAP as an amazing opportunity for international, national and local artists to develop their work, network and reach,” she added.
“In particular, I’m looking forward to working with the Awabakal people and using MAP as a place to support community to share knowledge and stories.
“I believe art can be a powerful tool for connecting people and creating change and growth within communities.
“I look forward to bringing this vision to life at MAP.”