2023 MSA Mission Fund Awards

Bridget McAlonan on behalf of Inventing Trees

Bridget (she/they) and Inventing Trees have been ride-or-die members of MSA’s puppetry community for years as performers, teachers, volunteers, and enthusiastic promoters of all things puppet. She is also currently serving as a volunteer member of our newly-formed Gallery Committee.

Beyond their work here at MSA, Bridget has travelled to schools for over 16 years, supporting LGBTIQ+ rights and providing education and resources to prevent sexual assault. For the past year, she has created community through the arts with neighborhood families on the other side of town through her work at Portland Housing Authority’s Riverton Park Study Center.

Learn more about Inventing Trees at: http://www.inventingtrees.net/

Janoah Bailin & Michael Trautman on behalf of Maine Youth Circus

Janoah (ze/zir) and Michael (he/his) have been active participants here at MSA for many years. In addition to co-teaching our Club Circus after school program, they have each performed full-length solo shows, shared in-progress works, hosted puppet slams, and answered our desperate calls for volunteers.

Janoah is a performing artist with a love for dance, circus and puppetry, who is making zir name touring the Fringe Festival circuit in the US and Canada, including London, Ontario, where ze won “Best Variety,” and Elgin, Illinois, where ze won the “Spirit of the Fringe.” Closer to home, Janoah teaches juggling and unicycling to students at the Gym Dandies Children’s Circus of Scarborough.

Michael has worked professionally as a touring artist and taught clowning, mime, and circus arts to students for over 40 years, performing at prestigious venues across North America such as the Kennedy Center, appearing on multiple TV shows, and touring nationally as the star clown of The Big Apple Circus Stage Show. From 2016-2018, Michael was the Artistic Director and Creative Director at the Maine Circus Academy (aka Circus Maine) where he taught movement, mask, mime, character, and performance in the Professional Training Program.

Learn more about Maine Youth Circus at: https://www.maineyouthcircus.org