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News + Events

  • Reiche Students Create Extreme Weather Books During Side x Side Program

    Fourth graders working with Jessie Muldoon at Reiche Community School have been participating in a Side x Side program led by teaching artist, Leah Cross, that is integrating a science and literacy unit on extreme weather with bookmaking. The program kicked-off with a visit by book artist, Jill Osgood, who taught students how to make covers for their books using paste paper, a centuries-old technique. Throughout the program, students learned about floods, tsunamis, thunder and lightning, and hurricanes and utilized paste paper, collage, and pop-ups in accordion style books to display their research. During the program, students enjoyed a visit by Todd Gutner, Chief Meteorologist at News Center Maine!

  • Math and Literacy Taught Through Paper Sculpture During Side x Side Program at Reiche

    In November, fifth graders working with Hollie McLachlan at Reiche Community School completed a Side x Side program led by teaching artist, Nance Parker. The program integrated a literacy and math unit that included Roald Dahl’s story, “The Witches,” with paper sculpture, watercolor, and collage. Parker introduced students to the work of Romare Bearden, whose collages influenced their creations. Each student created their own paper witch, adding multiplication facts as a design on the witch’s arms and number patterns as a design on the legs. For a culminating event, students exhibited their completed witches and spoke about the process of creating them to another fifth grade class.

  • Side x Side Bookmaking Program at Riverton Teaches Science Unit Through Art

    This fall, fourth graders at Riverton Elementary School participated in a Side x Side bookmaking program led by teaching artist, Anne Ackerman, integrated with a science and literacy unit on plant, animal, and insect adaptations for survival and life cycles. The program kicked off with a visit by wildlife ecologist, Deb Perkins from First Light Wildlife Habitats, who spoke about pollinators and the power of pollination. Students studied the relationship between pollinators and flowers and created science models to use as a guide for their books. They then learned about the relationship between moose and wolves and created science models for each animal. All the research was compiled into student books which utilized mixed media including scientific drawings, watercolor, and cut paper. After their books were complete, Side x Side teaching artist, Meg Christie, visited classrooms to teach presentation skills using improv activities to prepare students for the program’s culminating event. The event featured a gallery walk during which students present their completed books to younger students and parents.

  • Side x Side hangs murals in King Middle School bathrooms

    Four murals inspired by seventh grade King Middle School students who participated in creative leadership workshops led by Side x Side teaching artists during the winter and spring of 2019 were installed in seventh grade bathrooms at King this fall. The program was driven by the students and their desire for a creative voice, artistically expressing student leadership, empowerment, and school culture. Each class participated in team building exercises and creative art projects with the goal of encouraging dialogue about creating community and trust within the school. Local artist, Abigail Swartz, utilized student drawings, collage, writing, and color schemes developed during the workshops as inspiration to create these murals.
    This Side x Side program was made possible by the Cabin Foundation, Painting for a Purpose, Maine Hardware, Artist & Craftsman Supply, and Lowes.

    read an article in the Portland Press Herald about the murals



  • Side x Side announces almost $2.5 million federal grant

    Side x Side, along with its primary partner, the University of Southern Maine, announced its recent four-year $2,482,515.00 grant from the U.S. Department of Education at a press conference at the Side x Side offices in Portland yesterday. The funding will support Side x Side’s project, “(Re)Imagining Education,” to promote arts integration in Portland and Lewiston public elementary schools.

    It is the second time that Side x Side (and Maine) has been awarded the highly competitive grant through the Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination (AAEDD) grant program. Only 22 out of 96 applicants in the U.S. received the award for this year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Side x Side and its partner, USM, provide arts integration for public schools in Portland and will now be expanding into Lewiston, benefiting over 2000 students and more than 100 teachers in 10 schools.

    Side x Side was honored to host distinguished speakers at the press conference including Congresswoman Chillie Pingree, USM President, Glenn Cummings, Portland Mayor, Ethan Strimling, Superintendent of Lewiston Public Schools, Bill Webster, Director of School Management at Portland Public Schools, Jeanne Crocker, and LilySarahGrace Fund representative, Campbell Badger.



  • Portland Map Notecards for Sale!

    Side x Side Portland map notecards are now for sale at all four Rosemont Market locations in Portland!  Stop by and pick up a notecard featuring one of seven Portland map collages made during Side x Side mapping programs for third graders led by teaching artists Molly Brown and Leah Cross at the East End and Reiche Community Schools in Portland.

    Rosemont Market
    580 Brighton Ave
    Portland, ME

    Rosemont Market
    88 Congress Street
    Portland, ME

    Rosemont Market
    5 Commercial St
    Portland, ME

    Rosemont Market
    40 Pine Street
    Portland, ME

  • Maps of Portland on exhibit at the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library at the Portland Public Library

    Mapping Our Portland
    on exhibit at the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library
    Portland Public Library
    July-August, 2017

    Mapping Our Portland is a Side x Side map-making program for third graders at East End and Reiche Community Schools which integrates social studies and math curriculum with the arts. Teaching artists Molly Brown (of MollyMaps) and Leah Cross worked with classroom teachers and students throughout the year to develop mapping skills such as scale, perspective and symbology. In their own ‘atlases’, students drafted multiple maps of their homes, routes to school and local Portland landmarks. One map was selected from each student atlas to be traced and painted with watercolor. The resulting paintings were then creatively combined by the teaching artists to produce one cohesive map mural of Portland for each classroom.

    Come and view the seven maps of Portland on display at the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library!

  • Side x Side Partners with King Middle School

    Through a partnership with King Middle School, and with funding from the Horizon Foundation, sixth and eighth grade King students will be working with two Side x Side teaching artists throughout their spring expeditions.

    Artist/designer Laurie Downey will be working with eighth grade students as they create posters for their upcoming expedition, Truth or Consequences. Laurie will teach graphic design skills to students as they design, create and revise their work. In addition, students will develop the skills of offering and receiving critique.

    Artist Catherine LaBarre will be helping sixth graders with shadow theater which will be used in a final performance for the expedition, May the Forces be With Us!  In this expedition, students will explore ancient myths based on the forces of gravity, wind, heat and water. The culminating event will be the telling of these tales through shadow theater, including original music composed in music class.

    Side x Side is thrilled to be working with King Middle School on these two expeditions!

  • Flatbread Pizza Fundraiser

    Flatbread Company at 72 Commercial Street in Portland is donating a portion of its pizza sales from 5-9 pm on Tuesday, January 17th to Side x Side.

    Join us for dinner and live music from 6-7 pm by CAMEO featuring Casco Bay High School students Satchel Butterfield, Nick DiGiovanni, Simon Hale and Halim Moldaver and you will automatically support Side x Side programs!

    Side x Side ignites academic excellence in education through comprehensive arts-based programs bringing critical thinking, creativity and innovation into the classroom.

    Side x Side K-5 “Project Imagine” programs are being conducted at four Portland public elementary schools. Grade level programs range from printmaking, book-making, sculpture, illustration and mural-making to physical theater, dance, map-making and film.

    FMI: view poster

  • Side x Side Community Night Fundraiser at B.Good

    b.good at 15 Exchange Street in Portland’s Old Port will donate 10% of its total sales from 6-9pm on Wednesday, November 2nd to Side x Side.

    Join us for drinks, dinner and live music and you will automatically support Side x Side programs!

    Side x Side ignites academic excellence in education through comprehensive arts-based programs bringing critical thinking, creativity and innovation into the classroom.

    Side x Side K-5 “Project Imagine” programs are being conducted at four Portland public elementary schools. Grade level programs range from printmaking, book-making, sculpture, illustration and mural-making to physical theater, dance, map-making and film.

    FMI: view poster

  • Side x Side Recently Awarded Three Grants!

    Side x Side is very pleased to announce that it has recently been awarded a $7,560.00 grant from the Peaks Island Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. The Maine Community Foundation works to improve the quality of life for all Maine people and the Peaks Island Fund connects people who care with causes that matter to benefit the Peaks Island community. The grant funding will go toward a multidisciplinary afterschool program on Peaks Island with artists Pamela Moulton and Jamie Hogan that will bring critical thinking, creativity and innovation to students while aligning with core curriculum on Landforms and World War II history. The program will be conducted in collaboration with Ocean Avenue Elementary School students in Portland.

    Side x Side is also honored to have been awarded two grants from the Maine Arts Commission in the amount of $3,900.00. The Maine Arts Commission is a dynamic state agency supporting Maine arts and culture through grants and services. A Maine Arts Commission Organizational Development award will allow Side x Side to work with Lift360 to create a comprehensive plan to guide Side x Side toward achieving its mission while supporting its growth and enabling the organization to deepen its connections to the school district and greater Portland community. A Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning award will provide funds to hire local consultants to provide engaging and relevant professional development in arts integration best practices to classroom teachers.

    Side x Side ignites academic excellence in education through comprehensive arts integration by bringing critical thinking, creativity and innovation into the classroom through arts-based programs. Through community partnerships with the University of Southern Maine, the Portland Public School Department, local artists and professionals, Side x Side integrates classroom curriculum with the arts to enhance student learning and achievement. Side x Side began in 2014 working with over 300 students in one elementary school. This year, Side x Side will reach over 1,700 K-5 students in four elementary schools.

    We at Side x Side are very excited to be the recipients of a grant from the Maine Community Foundation’s Peaks Island Fund which will help expand our programming outside of Portland and two grants from the Maine Arts Commission that will strengthen our organization and deliver high-impact professional development for classroom teachers and teaching artists.

    For more information on the Peaks Island Fund and the Maine Community Foundation, go to:

    For more information on the Maine Arts Commission, go to:

  • Side x Side Slides into Summer by Jamie Hogan

  • Launching Land Forms at Ocean Avenue Elementary by Jamie Hogan

    Thanks to Side x Side, I had more adventures in second grade, this time at Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Portland, Maine… Read more….

  • Side x Side Open House & Indiegogo Launch Party

    Please join us Friday, March 4th from 5-8pm to find out what Side x Side has been up to and help us celebrate the launch of our Indiegogo online fundraising campaign. The event will be held as part of Portland’s First Friday festivities and is located at Side x Side’s office at 636 Congress Street in Portland. view invite

  • The Portland Project

    Third grade students at Riverton elementary school in Portland worked with teaching artists, Gretchen Berg and Laurie Downey on a Side x Side physical theater and mural-making program culminating in a showcase event at the school featuring a performance and unveiling of the mural.
    Read more….

  • Epic Side x Side Report by Jamie Hogan

    A week ago today, I found myself happily in the mix of buzzing teachers at the Portland Museum of Art for the first annual Side x Side Summer Arts Institute.  Read more….

  • Artronics Intensive with Casco Bay High School

    In early January, Side x Side collaborated with the University of Southern Maine (USM) to teach a week-long intensive art and technology program for Casco Bay High School students. Read more….

  • Portland Schools Receive Major Arts Education Grant

  • Side x Side, USM Awarded $1.9 Million Grant for Arts in Education in Portland Schools

    PORTLAND, Maine – Youth in Action: Side x Side, a Portland-based arts-education organization, and the University of Southern Maine (USM) announced today that they are the recipients of a joint million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

    Read more….

  • PCAH Launches the Turnaround: Arts Initiative to Help Improve Low-Performing Schools

    The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) announced the launch of a new arts education initiative to help turn around low-performing schools. Read more….