The National Endowment for the Arts will help a Rockport organization launch a new effort to collect and document the personal stories of Mainers.

Inspired by StoryCorps, a national effort to audio record people’s stories, Rockport-based Cultural Resources Inc.’s Story Bank Maine project has been training volunteers to interview fellow Mainers for the last three years. They have collected dozens of stories featuring unique parts of Maine history and lifestyle including ones about cutting hay, growing up Jewish in Maine and farming life in Bowdoinham.

With a $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant, Story Bank Maine plans to expand its efforts to record Mainers’ stories by training volunteers with the Five Rivers Arts Alliance in Brunswick to interview Mainers in that area.

“Storytelling is such an important part of Maine’s culture,” said Cultural Resources executive director Kathleen Mundell. “Mainers appreciate it when these stories are highlighted and they love hearing about the places that are close to them.”

To hear some of the stories already collected visit cultural-resources.org.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.