On a clear morning, you might find Martina Mrongovius outside in the gardens that surround the Museum of Art and Culture, yapang (MAC yapang). She absentmindedly weeds as she talks on the phone, planning the logistics of an upcoming exhibition or event while keeping her hands busy as she talks through these finer details. “It gives me time to really talk through complex problems with people,” she says. “There are often multi-facets to creating a project and you’ve got to think outside the box and take different directions. By being in the garden and looking at the plants and doing the weeding, I find it a really therapeutic way of taking that time, listening and talking, and finding solutions.”
As the Art Producer of the Lake Arts Precinct, Mrongovius is in charge of programming and operations across both MAC yapang and the new Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima. She often drives from one side of the lake to the other, working at different locations. “I have to remind myself where I’m going when I drive to work,” she laughs. Sometimes, her day starts at MAC yapang, on others she heads to the admin building to meet people at Lake Macquarie Council. “I love the variety,” she adds.
Around 11am it’s time for coffee. This is a perfect opportunity to meet up one of her colleagues after Mrongovius has dealt with little administrative tasks, like rosters and timetables, and caught up on emails. “You can have this moment where you can meet with someone, have a coffee, and you can reset into a different mode of working that is more collaborative, more creative, and more vision driven,” she says.
Mrongovius enjoys the big picture planning, but her favourite part of her job is when she sets up new exhibitions or experiences with her team. “That's creating for me. When you're in the spaces creating shows, creating the experiences, that's what it's all about,” she says.
For her, these experiences are always the end goal. “That’s what we do. We create these incredible experiences. Being in that space with an artist who's worked on a show for months and months and we’re all putting it together and getting it ready. It's this beautiful hand-over moment where they are stepping back and our team is carrying that project forward. It's pretty special.”