Published on Wednesday 14 December 2022

On the heels of the recent launch of the Strategy 2025, Maria Angela Vassallo, fondly known to everyone as Mang, is taking over as Head of Communications for Arts Council Malta after her time as a Creative Entrepreneurship Executive at the same entity.

Maria Angela’s love of culture has spanned many years: “I was in the culture subcommittee at university. After graduating, I moved to Luxembourg to train to work as a translator, but even though I’ve always loved reading and books, it just wasn’t for me. I came back to Malta, and I’ve worked in culture since 2014.”

Working first at Creative Europe Desk for three years, followed by another two years and a half doing communications at the Ministry for Culture, and a further year of admin at Teatru Malta before joining Arts Council Malta, Maria Angela’s love of culture can clearly be seen in the career path that she carved out for herself: “I’m drawn to culture because it’s extremely dynamic. It’s so alive because it means something different to everyone. It’s something that can be moulded or explained in its own way– culture is everywhere.”

Maria Angela is very proud of the amount of talent that can be found on the islands even though we are small in size: “Many people create visual and performance art. There are so many interesting collaborations being born daily, and I enjoy promoting them and letting people know what’s happening. Culture is so important, and people need to understand its value. Even reading a book, watching a film, or listening to music – these are the things that made the pandemic bearable.”

Expressing her enthusiasm for the upcoming rebrand of Arts Council Malta, Maria Angela is full of hope that this will be the beginning of a new chapter in the Arts Council Malta story and is extremely excited about what the future holds: “Communications has finally been given its own space. We even have a brokerage section so that people can easily find out if they can apply for funds and how they can do so. Arts Council is becoming much more relatable in its approach as we are moving towards an approach where people can actually know who they need to contact to get things done. Our mission is for people to understand the role of Arts Council in our community, and I want artists to feel like they can come to us to talk about what they feel we should work and improve on.”

Speaking about culture on a wider scale in Malta, Maria Angela is philosophical about the why: “We are sometimes too traditional and stuck to certain things at the expense of others,” she states with a small laugh before expanding on this point further: “Culture and the arts play a vital role in mental health. Children need to be taught from a young age about the importance of art and culture. Of course, long-term strategies are needed; I like to think of education as a marathon rather than a sprint.”

Looking to the future, Maria Angela discusses her wish to continue to grow her team: “Arts Council Malta has so many initiatives; we help so many organisations. It makes me proud that we can help many people showcase their talents. The fact that we can give so many people opportunities really gives me satisfaction. We have worked hard on streamlining processes and offering frameworks from which artists can benefit. I’m thrilled to be in a role that can aid so many, and I’m very fortunate to have a team and director from whom I have so much support.”

Photo credit:Elisa von Brockdorff.