The colorful prints now hanging in a building just outside downtown Bangor may look like the decorations of a bookstore, library or high school English department.
They feature the front covers of literature written by authors with Maine connections, along with a blurb explaining the significance of each work.
They include pieces by famed novelists such as Stephen King, Elizabeth Strout and Richard Russo. They also present less conventional choices, such as the memoir of Portland-raised actress Anna Kendrick and a biography of Martha Ballard, a Hallowell midwife from the turn of the 19th century.
In fact, the installation is on the first floor of Together Place Peer Run Recovery Center, an agency at 2 Second St. that helps people recovering from mental health and substance use challenges.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, the organization will celebrate the new “Stories of Maine” exhibit with an open house and a slate of speakers that includes another author whose work is displayed, Christina Baker Kline.
Kline, a Bangor High School graduate, has written several books. One of them, the suspense novel “Desire Lines,” is set in Bangor during the 1980s and 1990s. Another, the 2013 bestseller “Orphan Train,” takes place in a fictional Maine town. In her 2017 book, “A Piece of the World,” Kline imagines the life of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World” whose family lived for generations in Cushing.
The installation is meant to accomplish several things, according to Sean Faircloth, executive director of Together Place’s parent organization, Maine Mental Health Connections.
The organization uses several different programs to encourage creativity among those in recovery, such as a weekly writing group and an annual statewide writing contest. In that spirit, Faircloth hopes the new exhibit will inspire the organization’s clients.
“We’ve kind of emphasized creative self-expression as a means of recovery,” he said.
He also hopes the new cultural offering will give Bangor-area residents a new reason to visit that part of the city and reduce the stigma they may feel toward those who struggle with mental illness or substance use disorder.
The exhibit will be permanent and open to the public during Together Place’s regular hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Visits can also be arranged by contacting the organization. One organization, the Bangor Arts Society, is planning to hold an event there in early 2019, Faircloth said.
The show also caps off a number of other changes the organization has made in the last year. It had a mural painted on two of its outer walls last summer and has been carrying out other renovations. In response to new state requirements for peer-recovery centers that receive public funding, it’s also extended its hours and added new programs that are free of charge to its clients.
“Our philosophy is that we need more community integration,” Faircloth said. “You don’t segregate treatment in a box. I’m hoping we’re fashioning what Together Place is about so that we’re a more opening, welcoming venue.”