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Category Archive: National Center for Arts & Technology

  1. NCAT Welcomes New ECAT Executive Director

    Daria Devlin, executive director of Erie Center for Arts and Technology

    NCAT welcomes Daria Devlin as the new Executive Director to Erie Center for Arts & Technology (ECAT). Devlin brings a great blend of experience in education, nonprofit fundraising and management expertise.

    Devlin is a life-long Erie resident and a strong advocate for social responsibility in its urban core. Devlin graduated from Colgate University in 1995 (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Studies and History. She also holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Edinboro University. Devlin has over 10 years of nonprofit fundraising, program development and management experience. She played a major role in securing grant funding for many of Erie’s most prominent nonprofit projects including the Wayne School-Based Health Center, the Blue Coats Community-School Bridge, and Erie’s Community School pilot.

    In 2012, Devlin founded the Partnership for Erie’s Public Schools, a local education foundation dedicated to organizing financial and community support for Erie’s Public Schools. From 2013–2018, Devlin also served as the Coordinator of Grants and Community Relations for Erie’s Public Schools, where she was part of the leadership team that successfully secured a $14 million increase in state funding for the district after a three-year public awareness and advocacy campaign.

    Devlin is an active member of her church community where she serves as Secretary of the Parish Council and the Chairperson of the church’s annual Russian Troika Festival. She also volunteers at the Overflow Homeless Shelter and the Emmaus Soup Kitchen. Devlin was named a Woman Making History in 2014, one of “Four Under Forty” by the Erie Times News in 2016, and Public Relations Person of the Year by the local chapter of the PRSA in 2017. She lives in Erie with her husband and her three sons.

  2. First Replication Site Celebrates 15 Years

     

    Ceramics at Cincinnati Arts & Technology Studios.

    Cincinnati Arts & Technology Studios (CATS), has a lot to celebrate after being open for 15 years.

    CATS was the first replication of the Manchester Bidwell educational model, and has served over 4,000 Cincinnati students in its 15 years through five art studios and a workforce development program that fills a costly gap between the supports available in high school and the traditional workforce programs designed for adults.

    The success is in the numbers. Over 90 percent of CATS students graduate high school and 89 percent of their young adults continue in their same job at least one year later, and over $500 million has been saved by enabling students to graduate.

  3. New Center Opening in Erie, PA

    Erie Center for Arts and Technology (ECAT) will become the 13th replication of the Manchester Bidwell educational model when it opens its doors in 2019.

    In September ECAT announced its inception, introduced their board of directors, and announced that it’s commencing an immediate search for a full time executive director.

    ECAT is a community based educational arts and career training organization that inspires, educates, and empowers people of all ages with jobs training and creative youth programs.

    ECAT will operate a digital arts program for high school students and a medical assistant training program for adults. The executive director will help ECAT secure a final location, develop programs, hire a qualified staff, and ultimately create an unparalleled environment for inspiration, education, and empowerment. The hope is to introduce several new programs for students and adults in the coming years.

    In 2015, Erie Regional Chamber’s Growth Partnership Committee raised the funds to do an initial feasibility study for a better trained work force.
    ECAT’s Board of Directors has been meeting regularly, and they are excited to be so close to establishing this new community asset which they believe is a perfect fit for Erie. They are actively looking to partner with other like-minded community organizations and play their part in making Erie a stronger city for everyone who lives in it.

  4. Hope Thrives in New Center in Sharon, PA

    HopeCAT students in front of the mural they painted on the side of the Reyers Store in Sharon, PA. Photo courtesy of Tom Roberts.

    The Hope Center for Arts and Technology (HopeCAT), a replication of the internationally regarded Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) education model, held its ribbon cutting ceremony in Sharon, PA on December 7, 2017.

    After breaking ground in March 2016, approximately 30,000 of the 45,000 square feet of what was once a dilapidated and abandoned elementary school was renovated into beautiful classrooms, galleries, and workspaces to serve the community throughout the region, with future renovation phases planned.

    “Thanks to creative collaborations with Penn State Shenango and regional organizations, we’ve been able to operate without a facility for the last two years,” said Tom Roberts, HopeCAT’s executive director. “This amazing facility captures the spirit of the other centers for arts and technology throughout the world and will allow ripples of hope to reach even farther than we can imagine.”

    The goal of the center—like the MBC model—is to place its adult career training students in life-changing careers and public high school youth arts program graduates in postsecondary education. HopeCAT is currently designing courses in partnership with the regional medical industry to help adults obtain long-term employment and will offer ceramics and digital arts to youth.

    “HopeCAT will be joining an affiliated network of centers reaching from Cleveland, OH to Buffalo, NY, from Brockway, PA to our original site in Pittsburgh as well as sites in New England, Michigan, California, and Akko, Israel,” said Bill Strickland, MBC President and CEO. “This center is an important piece in the expansion of access to the Manchester Bidwell education model for this area.”

  5. NCAT Welcomes New Project Manager

    Jeffrey Morris, NCAT project manager

    Jeffrey Morris, NCAT project manager

    NCAT is excited to introduce the newest member of its team, Jeffrey Morris.

    Prior to joining NCAT, Morris worked in performing arts production, management, and operations for a variety of nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C. Notable companies include Actors’ Equity Association (labor relations), ODC Theater (dance presenting), Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (community choral organization), the San Francisco Mime Troupe (political musical theater), The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (arts presenter), and Woolly Mammoth Theater Company (new works) to name a few.

    Morris holds a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University as well as a Bachelor’s in Playwriting and Performing Arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He enjoys spending as much time as possible traveling, exploring nature, and consuming art.

  6. NCAT Launches Replication Efforts in West Palm Beach

    Local leaders in West Palm Beach, FL are interested in bringing the Manchester Bidwell Education Model to their community in the form of a new Center for Arts & Technology (CAT).

    To help achieve that goal, the City of West Palm Beach has engaged NCAT to conduct a feasibility study to determine how best to position a local CAT for success. The 12-month study, which looks at employment needs, academic achievement, current service providers, potential sites, sources of funding, and local leadership, is scheduled to conclude by May 2018.

    Replication efforts are being coordinated by the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and guided by a steering committee comprised of local education, workforce development, philanthropy, and industry leaders.

    NCAT will meet with community members throughout the feasibility study to understand the dynamics of the local landscape and to share information about the Manchester Bidwell Education Model.

    The replication process includes three phases of work, which are initiated by community leadership and result in the creation of a CAT based on the Manchester Bidwell Education Model. The three phases are:

    1. Feasibility
    2. Planning
    3. Implementation.

    West Palm Beach joins an expanding group of communities dedicated to improving lifelong outcomes of local residents through the Manchester Bidwell Education Model. The NCAT network currently includes 10 open and operating centers, six centers that are planning to open, and three communities undergoing feasibility studies.

  7. Trip of a Lifetime

    Students visit Yellowstone National Park

    By Melissa Klaric / The Herald

     

    You had to be there, they said.

    Three Farrell High students struggled to find the words to describe their four-day trip last month to Yellowstone National Park.

    “Beauty,” the kind only an artist can portray.

    “Amazing,” the majestic kind that’s part of a landscape unlike any in western Pennsylvania.

    “Wild,” as in wildlife like bison, bear and wolf.

    “At any moment of any part of the day, where ever we looked, the scenery was just beautiful,” said Christian Walker, a 2016 Farrell graduate. “It was like what you would see in movies. It was just amazing. As soon as we would leave our cabins, it was just mountains and stuff.”

    Walker, along with Isaiah Crosby and Michael McQueen, who will be seniors this fall, were chosen by Farrell teachers and administration to visit the nation’s first national park, the home of Old Faithful.

    The trip was made possible through a partnership of the Hope Center for Arts and Technology in Sharon and Park Journeys Inc., a non-profit organization formed in 2012 with the purpose of sending local students to Yellowstone who otherwise would not have had the chance to go.

    But that doesn’t mean the trip was a gift, said Tom Roberts, executive director of HopeCAT.

    “They did consistent work throughout the program,” he said. “So they earned it.” They “earned” it by attending HopeCAT’s first-ever class – ceramics – three times a week after school this past year at Penn State Shenango in Sharon.

    The young men beamed as they joked and reminisced about the trip with their chaperones, Roberts ad Christian Kuharik, their ceramics instructors.

    “We had the opportunity … to travel to Yellowstone, live as a family in cabins, prepare our own meals every day, and enjoy Yellowstone learning about the wildlife, ecosystem and nature,” Roberts said. The HopeCAT group stayed in Gardiner, Mont., with a group of students from Cleveland.

    And enjoy it they did.

    The favorite part of the trip for McQueen – who hopes his new nickname “Montana Mike” will stick – was when he got up close and personal with a bison.

    “I didn’t think animals would be as much fun as they were, and then I saw the bison,” McQueen said. “It started running at me, then they started pulling me away and I was like, ‘No I love it, and it loves me.’ “

    The running joke throughout the trip was that “Montana Mike” wanted to hug a bear and ride a bison.

    And while the travelers thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the trio were like sponges as they soaked up new lessons from the outdoor classroom that is Yellowstone.

    “When we went there, she (the park ranger) told us one rule: Do not pick flowers or plants because you have to preserve the wildlife and flowers,” Crosby said. “There were many types of flowers. All different colors – blue, purple, yellow, even some green.”

    Crosby marveled over watching a pack of wolves emerge from their den on the side of a ridge and said he was fascinated by fish in their natural habitat. “We saw a lot of fish. We actually saw how they protect each other. How they fight for their babies and all.”

    Yellowstone National Park covers almost 3,500 square miles in three states – Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

    “I remember our tour guide said for them to persuade the government to make Yellowstone a national park, they got an artist to draw out what Yellowstone looked like, and it was amazing,” Walker said. “They couldn’t believe how amazing it was. You have to be there to actually embrace it.”

    “I’m blessed to even be here,” Walker said he told the tour guide. “I never thought pursuing pottery for fun would have me end up at Yellowstone and would have me meet all the people that I’ve met.”

    About the Hope Center

    The Hope Center landed a $2.6 million state grant last October and is working with the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio to raise funds to match it so it can renovate the former Sacred Heart building at 115 Anson Way, Sharon.

    The center is slowly taking shape. When the first floor is finished – and Executive Director Tom Roberts said it should be done in the fall – classes for adults and youth will be held there. For now, the center has partnered with Penn State Shenango, which donated the use of its ceramics lab and materials for classes.

     

    See the original post and photos here.

  8. Big Idea Session inspires change one presentation at a time

    By Amanda Waltz / Next Pittsburgh

    This Friday, around a dozen thought leaders—from the Chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh to an entrepreneur from London, England—will share their big idea from a global stage at the Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC). The Big Idea Session, sponsored by the MBC affiliate National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT), is free and open to the public.

    NCAT has worked to elevate communities in need by setting up centers to provide high-quality arts education and demand-driven career training. The organization also focuses on fostering a culture where people can come together and find innovative, creative solutions to societal problems, a mission it will continue with the first-ever Big Idea Session.

    On the morning of May 20, more than a dozen arts, education and technology leaders from Pittsburgh and around the globe will meet at the MBC to share their socially-conscious ideas during a series of focused, fast-paced presentations. The featured speakers have successfully employed strategies that deal with issues such as poverty, unemployment and low academic achievement.

    “Overall, we were looking for people who would bring different perspectives and new ideas to an informed conversation about what we could do differently,” says NCAT Chief Operations Officer Paulo Nzambi. “Sometimes in our work there’s a level of cross-pollination that occurs where you take ideas from arts and infuse them in technology, where you take ideas from the realm of technology and infuse them into education, where you take principles of education and you infuse them into the arts and technology. And this cross-pollination produces an outcome greater than the sum of the individual parts. That’s what we’re hoping to create with this field of presenters.”

    Each presentation will take no longer than 15 minutes and end with a line summarizing its content. The format forces presenters to get to the essence of their ideas and keep audience interest.

    The event will welcome representatives from foundations, corporations and nonprofits, as well as the general public, free of charge.  Allowing everyone to come “adds to the culture of innovation and reinvention for which Pittsburgh has become known,” says Nzambi.

    “We wanted an environment where these ideas would be democratized. They should be shared with as many people as possible who have any interest in learning and being inspired because we never know what seed of an idea might get implanted in someone that will produce the next big thing.”

     

    See the original story and photos here.

  9. ‘Genius’ Bill Strickland is more than just a kid from the neighborhood

    Bill Strickland describes himself as “a kid from the neighborhood who got involved in the arts.”

    While that is certainly true, he might also be selling himself a bit short — Strickland, who is the President and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, is a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” grant winner, founder of the Grammy-winning subscription jazz series MCG Jazz, and author of Make the Impossible Possible, a book about a kid from Pittsburgh’s ghetto whose crusade to inspire others to achieve the extraordinary would lead him to a board seat at the National Endowment for the Arts and a speaking gig at Harvard, among other things.

    It all started in the 1960s in the Manchester neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side, where Strickland grew up as a disengaged youth. Then he met high school art teacher Frank Ross. Ross showed Strickland the power of art, education and community, and instilled in him an interest in working with the kids through an after-school arts program.

    In 1968, Strickland launched his own small after-school ceramics program. That initiative is now called the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Youth & Arts program — it serves public school students via classes in ceramics, design, digital imaging, 3-D manufacturing and photography.

    By 1972, Strickland had also taken over leadership of the Bidwell Training Center, a struggling job training center near the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. He rebuilt the organization into a “pretty good” job training and vocational center in partnership with various Pittsburgh area industry leaders.

    Once again, Strickland is being humble: This “pretty good” vocational center is a nationally accredited and state licensed adult career training institution, with programs that range from horticulture to medicine to the culinary arts.

    “We partner with industry leaders to develop curriculum specific to their industries,” explains Strickland. “We have these industry advisory boards that work directly with us. The programs we develop are industry compatible, so as to have a high degree of placement and retention.”

    Manchester Bidwell’s arts education opportunities for public school students are directly connected to this work.

    “Our goal is to improve the retention and graduation rates of public school students using arts as an intervention strategy,” says Strickland. “As kids get better in the arts, their retention improves. We graduated 99 percent of our kids last year. We average 90 percent, and a lot of these students go on to college. I think this is a very powerful way of adding value to what these kids need to have to be successful.”

    Once out of school, arts program alumni can continue on with Manchester Bidwell via vocational training (for ages 18 and up). By talking to industry leaders to determine their workforce and skills training needs, they have been able to make these programs incredibly effective.

    According to Strickland, between 75 and 85 percent of Manchester Bidwell’s vocational students go to work every year in the industries in which they were trained. These numbers are consistent across Manchester Bidwell’s eight affiliate sites.

    Those affiliates operate in cities across the United States and follow the same model as the one in Pittsburgh. Five more sites are in the works and should be online in the next 18 months. Strickland’s goal is to eventually have 100 centers throughout the country.

    While Strickland has reason to be proud of the programs he has built, he remains steadfastly humble. To him, the impactful work of Manchester Bidwell is a relatively simple matter.

    “I decided I wanted to get involved with the arts in the community and that’s how this started,” he says. “This has really been a 40-year story of one neighborhood.”

    See the original story here.