Bill Strickland, founder of the MCG and Manchester Bidwell Corporation, will be awarded as a honorary member to the NCECA for his lifetime achievements.
By: Neil Strebig
Later today, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild founder Bill Strickland will be honored as an honorary member of the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts (NCECA).
Strickland, along with Clayton Bailey, Edward Eberle, Jo Lauria, will be honored for their exemplary individual works, contributions towards ceramic art education and their positive influences on pottery culture. The awards ceremony will be held tonight at the NCECA 2018 Conference, currently underway at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center downtown.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Strickland. “[It is] very powerful and I’m proud – even more so because I’m a Northsider and seeing the world pay attention to my work.”
Strickland started the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in 1968 on Buena Vista Street using a hand-made kiln to help educate and promote ceramic art for inner-city youth. He believes the award is more than a testament to his individual work and more a tribute to what the MCG has been able to achieve since its humble inception.
“We’re doing a lot of right things here and making things possible [for students],” said Strickland who mentioned approximately 100 MCG students will be in attendance for the conference and this evening’s award ceremony.
During a phone interview, Strickland paid homage to Frank Ross, his high school art teacher who introduced him to pottery. Ross was a mentor to him during his adolescence and instrumental in his development as an artist. In addition, Ross to helped Strickland get into the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated cum laude in 1969. In 1972, Strickland took over a leadership role with the Bidwell Training Center (BTC) and was able to expand both the BTC and Manchester Craftsman Guild to the award-winning education facilities they are today.
The NCECA awards ceremony will take place tonight at 4 p.m. in the Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom. The NCECA Convention runs through until Saturday, March 17. For additional information, visit NCECA’s website.
This article was updated on Friday, March 16 at 10:55 a.m.