MSA’s current home was built in 1890 by the Danish Lutheran community. The St. Ansgar’s Church, as it was known, was a community hub for this group, who lived in the East Bayside neighborhood, and worked mostly at ceramics and tile foundries on Back Bay.
The building has since served in many capacities as a community resource, home to such groups as The Free School, The East End Children’s Workshop, A Company of Girls, and now Mayo Street Arts. The downstairs floor is now used as art and studio space Portland artists and MSA’s programs, while upstairs the main hall is used a beautiful performance, exhibit, and meeting space for dance, theater, music, visual arts, and community gatherings.
Our Neighborhood and Programs Today
The neighborhood we serve is one of Portland’s most diverse and promising communities, blending Somalis, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Sudanese, Balinese, Indonesians, and many other new arrivals with established African Americans and with native Mainers.
Each year Mayo Street Arts stages over 150 exhibitions, musical performances, dances, theatric presentations, literary happenings, and children’s workshops with guest artists that cover subjects like African dance, Cuban drumming, and script writing. Workshops culminate in regular Saturday productions, which recently included a Sicilian marionette show and a presentation of Homer’s Odyssey.
Recently an artist mentorship program for nine young girls who are all learning English, and who together speak 13 languages, empowered them to design and build their own puppets and create and present their own performance. Activities like this one celebrate the nature of this growingly vibrant community and demonstrate that it is one of the most multicultural places in our county.
Mayo Street Arts strives to repurpose an historic building at the foot of Munjoy hill by engaging neighborhood youth and providing them with a gateway to the creative community that is such a significant part of Portland. Mayo Street Arts works to foster hope, creativity, and solidarity among many of Maine’s newest citizens by transforming a 19th century place of worship into a vibrant 21st century community resource.
Solution: Building Fund
Launched in March 2012, the Building Fund was established by Mayo Street Arts board, staff, and friends to ensure a permanent home for this valuable community resource. When funding goals are met, MSA will purchase the building at a manageable cost that will equal current rent costs – and ensure that the building and organization remain a community resource for the neighborhood and its constituents.
Down payment and closing costs: $ 35,000
Roof repair: $ 12,000
If you are interested in supporting our campaign, please contact Blainor McGough, Executive Director at Mayo Street Arts (email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel:207-615-3609) or click on the links to the right to donate. We thank you for your support.