PORTLAND, Maine — Casco Bay Frames and Gallery says they're passionate about supporting Portland's local economy, so much so that their employee roster is made up entirely of local artists.
"It’s that creative spirit that allows them to pick out the frames and work with the customers to really do a good design," says owner Tony Cox.
In order to facilitate that economy, Casco Bay Frames created an annual Employee Art Exhibit, so their dedicated staff could show and sell their wares.
It's a tradition that started twenty years ago. They always have a show during the first week of May.
"We’ll sell three or four pieces for the opening night, and we feature this show for the next two months," Cox said.
Artist and employee Beth O’Malley says this show is one of the many reasons she loves working for a local company. O'Malley says it's rare for companies to allow their employees to showcase their work and make a profit.
Casco Bay Frame says 98 percent of the proceeds from each painting sold goes directly in the artist’s pocket.
"You’re not going to get a corporate entity employing framers and kind of shelling out something like this and also allowing artists to make money on their own work. It’s absolutely irreplaceable to have local businesses that have this ethic," O'Malley said.
Customers say Portland’s burgeoning art scene depends on the consistent support of local patrons.
"When you spend a dollar at a locally owned business like Casco Bay Frames, it’s 76 percent more likely to stay in our community. So, having the local expertise and knowing that the money stays in the community is really important to me," customer Mary Alice Scott said.