As you know, at the end of this month I’m departing from my position at Mayo Street Arts, after a good, long run. I will miss the artists, performances, and friends at MSA, but I feel satisfied that MSA is well equipped to enter its next phase of creativity and growth, excited about MSA’s future, and euphoric about new things to come.
As you’ve likely heard by now, the MSA Board of Directors have chosen Ian Bannon as our next Executive Director. Ian is a respected contributor to the Maine arts scene, and brings a ton of experience in the performing arts, youth programming, and running a nonprofit theater. Maybe most important: Ian gets the vibe, heart, and soul of MSA. I couldn’t be more thrilled, and I hope you will join me and the MSA board and staff in welcoming him!
I want to share some other incredible news. As I write this, MSA is in the running for something special: we are in the finalist stage for a highly competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – something that would not only bring much needed funding, but would truly put MSA on the map by acknowledging the work we do with international artists in a very public way. Getting an NEA grant would be a first for Mayo Street Arts, and we are closer than we’ve ever been before. It’s a really big deal.
Of course, the NEA is a federal agency and all grantees must follow numerous federal guidelines. And there’s one important box MSA still hasn’t checked – to accept an NEA grant, we need to be completely wheelchair accessible.
We’ve been working slowly but surely to make our building accessible for some time now. At this moment the final phase of the project – our wheelchair lift – is 90% funded and we have a plan to break ground on the lift by the end of July 2021.
In handing off leadership to Ian, my great hope is that one of his first tasks as Executive Director will be to announce to you MSA’s success with the NEA grant. I’m also hoping that with this, my final fundraising letter, you might be inspired to help us finish off our accessibility project with a special gift – thus ensuring our eligibility with the NEA.