Office of Public Affairs
Feb. 28, 2002
CONTACT: David Kwasigroh, 312-2113
LINK BETWEEN ENTREPRENEURS, ARTISTS TOPIC OF TALK
OSWEGO -- SUNY Oswego's Tyler Art Gallery will present a lecture by William Strickland Jr. titled "Reshaping the World, Entrepreneurs and Artists are Interchangeable" at 7 p.m. Monday, March 18, in Room 104 of the college's Lanigan Hall.
Strickland -- who is the founder, president and chief executive officer for the Manchester Bidwell Corp. in Pittsburgh -- is best known for his leadership and entrepreneurial work with the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center, organizers said.
Growing up in the 1960s, Strickland witnessed the declining economy of his Manchester neighborhood on Pittsburgh's north side. He gained determination to rebuild the area while concentrating on the art of ceramics at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1968, while still taking classes, Strickland started the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, an after-school program in which neighborhood children were taught pottery skills. He would add a volunteer staff and establish a name for himself as a local activist in the community.
Three years into his work with the guild, Strickland was asked to head the Bidwell Training Center, a vocational-training program that aimed to lead adults back into the workforce.
By 1983, after more than a decade of work, he raised enough funds from foundations, corporations and government sources to construct an $8 million building to house both programs.
Between 75 and 80 percent of the at-risk students who have attended the guild have gone on to college, and 78 percent of adults in the vocational program have found jobs, according to Strickland.
The jazz concert hall he included in the plans of the Bidwell Center led to the creation of the MCG Jazz record label. One of the label's first records, "The Count Basie Orchestra directed by Grover Mitchell with the New York Voices, Live at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild," earned a Grammy award in 1996.
In October 2001, Strickland and supporters broke ground on a 38,000-square-foot, $4 million greenhouse and education center, geared to continue Manchester's revitalization and job creation.
Strickland also organized the Denali Initiative, an effort to teach nonprofit leaders to become entrepreneurs, and he served as a consultant in the development of the San Francisco Center for Advanced Technology and Education.
The public is invited to the admission-free lecture, which is supported by SUNY Oswego's Tyler Art Gallery, Artswego and Student Association Program Board. For information, or for persons with disabilities seeking access assistance to the lecture, call 312-2113.
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