MSA Board of Directors announces Blainor McGough’s departure as Executive Director

It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that the MSA Board of Directors announces Blainor McGough’s departure as Executive Director of Mayo Street Arts, effective February 26, 2021.

For 11 years, Blainor has played a critical role in the artistic development and success of Mayo Street Arts and while we will miss her and her inspiring leadership, we wish her the best of luck as she pursues new opportunities. We want to thank her for her dedicated service as the organization’s founder, which involved many significant accomplishments.

Back in 2009, together with her husband Brian Arlet, Blainor McGough built artist studios and began hosting music and art events in the renovated Scandinavian church in Portland’s East Bayside. Today MSA is a vibrant neighborhood arts center, presenting over 200 arts and music events each year, including puppet shows for youth and adults, international music and dance, art exhibitions, and a summer arts and tutoring program for neighborhood kids. 

Through events like the International Open Mic and International Heritage Series, Blainor created a venue where immigrant artists and neighbors feel a strong connection.

Blainor’s interest in puppetry has centered MSA as a premier venue for celebrating the unique heritage of world puppetry in northern New England through ongoing Puppet Labs for practicing puppeteers, a Children’s Puppet Workshop, and presenting local and international puppet theater performances throughout the year. MSA is a member of the International Union of Marionnettes (UNIMA) and the annual King Friday’s Dungeon Puppet Slam is recognized by Heather Henson’s Puppet Slam Network.  

In the coming weeks, we will be conducting a search to find MSA’s new Executive Director. Being in our 11th year, and having just completed an important strategic planning process, MSA finds itself in a strong position to make the leadership transition. We will share the job announcement soon and ask for your help in identifying candidates who can help MSA continue along this successful trajectory.

Again, we cannot thank Blainor enough for the dedication, passion, enthusiasm, and motivation she has given MSA over the past 11 years. She will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, members, neighbors, and partners alike. We look forward to following the success of her next endeavors in the Portland arts community, and are hopeful and excited for the next chapter of MSA. We also want to thank all our supporters, artists, audience members, and community partners for their unwavering support. 

If you have any questions or concerns during this transition process, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via


Troy Moon

Chair, Mayo Street Arts Board of Directors