BANGOR, Maine -- (NEWS CENTER) It's what many people would consider a hidden treasure in downtown Bangor. Oonah Ryan's passion spearhead others to get involved to highlight local artists in a store. From painters, photographers and sewers this shop captures the essence of what people can do with their imagination. Plus, some of the proceeds are given to at risk families in need. 81-year-old, Oonah Ryan said it's important to help others in a time of need.
"A family that is seriously at risk this year we gave $650 to a family because they were very very at risk and they have a good work ethic, but they just couldn't make it."
And with three other women Ryan made the idea of getting a store a reality. The shop is called Maine by Mainers and she's in the process of training her volunteer workers, so they can carry on this tradition.
"Because I'm the elder of the group, I will die first and I want the store to go on when I'm gone, so hopefully everybody else will have good training in making good decisions and making things work."
Ryan explained that prior to the store, they'd sell the artwork as street vendors at various locations. Her kindered spirits helps locals like Laura Watson want to contribute her artwork in the store.
"When you have as much wool on hand because you have your own flock of sheep you learn soon what you can do with it. I do clothing, bags, hats and things like that. And I also spin and I have some of my wool processed commercially into yarn."
She said they use a local organization to help find families and they know of families when choosing who gets the financial assistance. Now, this past Saturday the store came up on it's one year anniversary.