Mayo Street Arts is a community arts and performance venue in the East Bayside neighborhood of Portland, Maine. It was founded in 2010 by Blainor McGough[1] after leasing the building which was formerly St. Ansgar Church.[2] Mayo Street Arts' second executive director, Ian Bannon, succeeded McGough in May 2020 following McGough's resignation.[3] Located next to Kennedy Park, a public housing development and close to many other public housing areas, Mayo Street Arts serves as a theater, concert venue, art gallery, and meeting space and offers affordable artist studios, rehearsal space, and a teaching platform for visual and performing artists of multicultural backgrounds.[4] Programming is varied, but with a particular focus on puppetry, folk music, and dance.[4]

Mayo Street Arts

One of Mayo Street Arts' first programs was the Children's Puppet Workshop, which incorporated Portland's professional artist community and many children of immigrant families which focuses on puppetry and story-telling.[5]

Mayo Street Arts partners with a number of local organizations, including the East Bayside Neighborhood Association,[6] Learning Works and the Maine College of Art. The venue, which has seating for 110 people,[7] also hosts performances by local musicians who appreciate the building's natural acoustics.[8]

Mayo Street Arts first leased the building on Mayo Street from Roxanne Quimby's charitable foundation, which had owned the building since 2007.[9] It subsequently purchased the building in 2013, after receiving a donation from the Brooks Family Foundation.[10]

Mayo Street Arts was supported the Virginia Somers Hodgkins Foundation in 2011,[11] and in 2018 received a Stand for the Arts award for accessibility improvements.[12]

In 2021, Mayo Street Arts was awarded its first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the amount of $10,000 to support the creation of a Traditional Arts Network in collaboration with Cultural Resources. The Traditional Arts Network will be a resource for traditional artists who wish to preserve and share artistic and cultural practices of important newcomer groups in New England. The pilot year of the project will focus on the Rwandan, Congolese, Burundi, Somali, and Somali Bantu communities of Portland and Lewiston. This network will pool resources to offer support in marketing, grant-writing, documentation, video production, and access to rehearsal space.[13]

As of June 2022, Mayo Street Arts is wheelchair accessible.[14]


  1. ^ Bucklin, Kate (2010-01-05). "Community arts center proposed for Portland's East Bayside". Press Herald. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  2. ^ Parkhurst, Emily (January 11, 2011). "Bringing the arts to Bayside: Mayo Street Arts aims to involve community in its mission". The Forecaster. Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Announcing Ian Bannon as MSA's Next Executive Director". Mayo Street Arts. 2021-04-19. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  4. ^ a b "Mission & History". Mayo Street Arts. 2020-03-13. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  5. ^ "Mayo Street Arts". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  6. ^ Parkhurst, Emily (January 5, 2010). "Community arts center proposed for Portland's East Bayside". The Forecaster. Archived from the original on April 13, 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  7. ^ Ponti, Aimsel (March 5, 2018). "Mayo Street Arts gets a little help from its fans". Maine Today. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  8. ^ Dodge, Matt (February 11, 2011). "Mayo Street marks first year with silent auction". The Portland Daily Sun. Vol. 3, no. 7. pp. 1, 16. Retrieved 9 August 2020 – via Issuu.
  9. ^ Bucklin, Kate (5 January 2010). "Community arts center proposed for Portland's East Bayside". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  10. ^ Keyes, Bob (May 31, 2013). "Surprise donation pays Mayo Street Arts mortgage". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-06-01.
  11. ^ "Mayo Street Arts gets $10K grant". The Forecaster. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  12. ^ Bridgers, Leslie (18 October 2018). "Mayo Street Arts awarded $10,000 for mission to make arts accessible". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  13. ^ "We Got It! MSA Receives NEA Grant". Mayo Street Arts. 2021-06-02. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  14. ^ "Mayo Street Arts Lifts Up Portland!_Press Release.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved 2022-06-28.

43°39′46″N 70°15′16″W / 43.66280°N 70.25435°W / 43.66280; -70.25435