Announcing the 2020 MSA Mission Award

Instagram @idealmaineband

Mayo Street Arts is thrilled to present the MSA Mission Award to the Ideal Maine Social Aid and Sanctuary Band!

The Portland, ME, band was started by Mike Romanyshyn and Ben Crystal in 2017 and is made up of performers of all levels. The rotating lineup draws from dozens of musicians ranging from hobbyists to professionals aged 17 to 70.

Styled in the tradition of New Orleans second line bands and the HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands, the Ideal Maine Social Aid and Sanctuary Band can be seen and heard playing at community events, marches for social justice, theater performances, First Friday Art Walks, and as MSA’s house band for King Friday’s Dungeon Puppet Slam, amongst other events. With most of these events on hold due to Covid, the band has continued keeping the spirit alive with outdoor and socially-distant rehearsals in the summer months.

Instagram @idealmaineband

Initiated with generous support from the Brooks Family Foundation in 2018, the MSA Mission Award acknowledges artists of exceptional talent who fulfill the Mayo Street Arts mission “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.”

MSA Board Chair Myron Beasley presented the award to the band in an email, stating that “the band surely reflects the idea of the mission award in that it exemplifies the mission of Mayo Street Arts to engage and provide creative support to our local community!”

Instagram @idealmaineband

Jeremy Fink, current Band Manager, accepted the award saying “We are thrilled that the band is getting this recognition and thank MSA for all their support. The Ideal Maine Band has proven to be an accepting place for people of all backgrounds and abilities to have fun making music.  And the smiles we see during our recent outdoor rehearsals have reminded us that participatory community music never goes out of style. Young and old, people love to be surprised by a band!”

Band founder Mike Romanyshyn shared his appreciation for Mayo Streets mission, stating “The open arms of Mayo Street Arts made the formation of our band possible with its generous and sustaining support along with the neighborhood and wider community outreach that grew the membership and gave us a context to play music for joy, art and social change.”

MSA Mission Awardees are granted a cash award, access to Mayo Street Arts rehearsal or studio space, and performance or community engagement opportunities. Learn more about the MSA Mission Award and past recipients here.

Click on the video to see one of the Ideal Maine Band’s recent “socially distant” outdoor practices. Video by Ray Sapirstein.