Loretta Martella - KULCHA Multicultural Arts of WA
General Manager of KULCHA Multicultural Arts of WA for 2.5 years
WABN: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone to motivate a team?
LM: “To keep open lines of communication and ensure that staff are adequately resourced in order to carry out their tasks. And of course a good sense of fun – we all love our work and get a lot from it. The choice of music in the office helps. Often in the arts you are hiring creative people who love to have input and be challenged. It is important to keep their creativity ‘on track’ so that the organisation and the staff member are both benefiting from that type of input.”
WABN: What was the most challenging event in your career? How did you overcome the difficulties?
LM: “Taking on the general manager’s role at KULCHA during a time of change for the organisation was a challenging and exciting shift in my professional development. It involved working to consolidate the organisation’s key activity areas, as well ensuring that stakeholders, including funding bodies, were confident in our new direction. A large part of the role concerned stabilising the team and lifting morale, as there had previously been a high turnover of staff. It was a continual learning experience; however, the importance of clear communication and direction was reiterated throughout that time.”
WABN: What is the main quality are you looking for in your team members?
LM: “With a diverse range of stakeholders, the most important element of KULCHA is its people – both internally and externally – and having good people skills. Problem-solving skills and excellent time management are major qualities required in our team.”
WABN: What's best measurement of your performance, and can you name a highlight in your career?
LM: “The best measurement for most arts organisations is that artists are given opportunities to make and present their work, so if I receive positive feedback from the artists that we work with and represent, then that is a great measure.
“KULCHA’s diverse program is an ongoing example of this achievement. We recently worked with the very talented musicians Milica Ilic and Desert Child to tour them to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney through Kultour – the national multicultural touring network supported by the Australia Council. Touring opportunities for Western Australian artists are limited due to cost factors, however it is vital to provide these opportunities to enable them to expose their work to a wider audience.”
WABN: How do you deal with egos in your workplace?
LM: “We are lucky at KULCHA to have a team that is willing to work towards the goals of the organisation without putting themselves first. I think that clear and direct communication, together with dealing with problems as they arise is the best way of overcoming any personality problems.”
WABN:Is there an organisation/business model that you strive to achieve/reach? What is it?
LM: “KULCHA works to adapt to changes in our business environment by using innovative approaches to deal with the ever-increasing pressures of sourcing financial support for the arts and cultural programs that we offer. We work towards a model that enables us to service the ever-increasing demand for multicultural arts presentation, promotion and development in a way that is sustainable and decreases reliance upon external funding.”
WABN: What frustrates you the most about your sector and what would you do to change it?
LM: “The most frustrating thing about working in the arts sector is that arts and culture is seen as a secondary commodity in Australian society. Despite continued high-performance outcomes across the sector, funding opportunities remain scarce and resources are difficult to attract. At KULCHA we work to involve partners in the work we do in order to share resources to the benefit of all parties. Continued lobbying of stakeholders is paramount to the work that we undertake, which is well understood by the KULCHA board.”
WABN: What are the specific hurdles that you meet on a daily basis in your sector? How do you deal with them?
LM: “The pressures of sourcing funding continue to be a hurdle for our work. KULCHA is also responsive to multicultural issues in regards to overcoming barriers for artists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, as well as building audience for high-quality multicultural work.
“We are currently working on developing new program areas, such as an emerging artist mentoring program to assist the development of artists from culturally diverse backgrounds.
“We are also pleased to present the KULCHA World Music Carnival at the Quarry Amphitheatre in November, with support from Jubilee Mines. Now in its sixth year, this event is our premier annual event and provides a performance opportunity for local, interstate and international artists to perform.”
WABN: What were you doing before your current position?
LM: “I was the events and operations manager at Fremantle Arts Centre. This gave me a wide range of experience in multi-artform programming and event logisitics, with a good foundation to tackle the diversity in programming that we undertake at KULCHA.”