Mission & Background

MISSION

Mayo Street Arts strives to strengthen its neighborhood and community by providing a haven for the arts that is vibrant, safe, and inspiring; and to engage area youths of diverse cultural communities in robust participation in the visual, performing, and literary arts.

BACKGROUND

Mayo Street Arts was established in 2009 as a 501(c)3 and began programming arts events and youth programs for audiences in 2010.

The building that is home to Mayo Street Arts (MSA) is a former Scandanavian church built in 1890. Prior to 2009, the building had been empty for several years, and the founding members saw it as an ideal spot for an arts center in a neighborhood that had been overlooked. East Bayside is the most densely populated, ethnically diverse square mile in Maine, and home to an incredibly diverse cultural community of New Mainers, international communities, and other families who are underserved.

MSA presents music, theater, dance, puppetry, visual arts, and other artistic events that enrich the lives of artists, neighborhood families, arts audiences, and others of all ages. The building serves as a theater, auditorium, art gallery, and meeting space; and offers affordable artist studios and rehearsal space for visual artists, theater groups, a community chorus, an activist brass band, and a practice group for immigrant musicians.

MSA also provides a children’s summer program, ‘RAD’ (Reading, Arts, Dance), for local ESL and ELL students that is free by invitation and provides free tutoring and arts literacy programming each summer for 50-60 children for the past three years. MSA recently spearheaded an inter-agency arts alliance providing access to puppet theater performances for 700+ underserved children per season.

In 2013 MSA received a major grant to purchase the building and property it had rented for the first three years. A new roof, renovation of the choir loft and performance space, a new stage, an outdoor classroom, and many facility improvements have advanced the goal of providing a modern, flexible, and accessible center for the arts.