Empowering Educational Environments
History and Philosophy
At Manchester Bidwell Corporation, we have a simple philosophy – environment shapes people’s lives. By constructing an empowering atmosphere of art, light, music and a staff that strives to realize the genius in everyone, we enable our students to become productive society members.
Our philosophy originated when founder Bill Strickland met Pittsburgh Public High School art teacher Frank Ross. Ross mentored Strickland through his teen years, impressing upon him the powers of art, education and community, and helping him obtain entrance to the University of Pittsburgh.
While still in college in 1968, Strickland founded Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild to bring arts education and mentorship to inner city youth in his neighborhood. The MCG Youth & Arts program, as it is now called, serves public school students by offering courses in our ceramics, design, digital and photography studios.
In 1972, Strickland assumed leadership of a struggling building trade school located near Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. Over the years, Bidwell Training Center evolved to offer programs in fields ranging from horticulture to medical. Currently, we are a nationally accredited and state licensed adult career training institution.
Since then, other organizations have been added to the mix – all in an effort to empower educational environments. MCG Jazz lends the power of music with both its long-running concert series and educational programming.
The Drew Mathieson Center for Horticultural and Agricultural Technology contributes additional educational facilities as well as a sustainable source of beauty for our students. Harbor Gardens Park, our commercial office building, hosts our programs as well as other tenants in an elegant space.
Our powerful fusion of mentorship, education, beauty, and hope creates a safe space in which our students, young and older, can feel comfortable learning. We are so confident in our vision that we founded the National Center for Arts & Technology to create similar educational environments across the nation … and the world!