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New student arts center looks to replicate Pittsburgh model

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Chris Caya/WBFO News
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The founder of a successful after-school program for at-risk urban high school students helped cut the ribbon on the new Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology Friday.The center is modeled after the Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh, which marries the arts and vocational programs to create social change.

Classes started up this week at the "BuffCAT" center in the Artspace building on Main Street near Northampton. Students are enrolled in both digital and traditional design courses. Health sciences career training for adults starts in January.

The program was started in Pittsburgh nearly 40 years ago by Bill Strickland, who calls it a "cure for spiritual cancer."

"The only way to cure this cancer is to have powerful medicine that is supported by the concept called hope. The students will do the rest," Strickland said.

Buffalo is the seventh city in the nation to open a Center for Arts and Technology. Strickland says each one has a graduation rate of at least 90 percent.