Hopefully you’ve heard about this amazing place on Main Street in Buffalo called the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT). It’s an inspiring, bright, colorful place filled with hope and opportunity for young people and adults alike.
It is based on Pittsburgh’s Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC), a nationally recognized arts and training center founded by Bill Strickland. MBC's results are excellent: 85% of its adult students attain meaningful employment and over 90% of high school students enrolled in its arts programs graduate from high school.
The idea of creating a center like MBC in Buffalo was sparked in 2008 when Bill Strickland came to Buffalo to speak at the Buffalo City Forum. In the summer of 2009, local community leaders traveled to Pittsburg to view MBC first hand. In June of 2010, the Oishei Foundation Board unanimously approved a $150,000 grant to fund a feasibility study to determine Buffalo’s potential as a replication site. By March of 2012, the feasibility study was completed – it gave a green light to the City of Buffalo.
After a solid fundraising effort, construction began in summer of 2013. By December of that same year, BCAT celebrated its Grand Opening Day!
During the development process, talented filmographer, Jon Hand, followed the progress with his camera. He spent endless hours interviewing key partners and staff members...filming construction, mural creation, coding classes and student recording sessions. He eventually even filmed the graduation of some of BCAT’s hard-working students.
The final result is a series of moving videos. The first is dubbed “Constructing Change” and may be viewed here. We hope it lends understanding for what went into the creation of BCAT and how very important its work is here in Buffalo.