Beth Wilbur Van Mierlo (right), co-founder and Executive Director of Side x Side, 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 on October 30, 2018. Dr. Kelly Hrenko (left), USM Art Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art Education, was the spokesperson for the University of Southern Maine, Side x Side's primary partner. (Dr. Hrenko is also Side x Side's Director of Professional Development and Teacher Interns.) 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.