On Saturday, April 7, The Crucible opened its doors for a night of fire, feasting, and fundraising. The annual Fire & Light Soirée and Art Auction is our largest benefit of the year, where we auction donated artwork from our community of master artists, makers, and fabricators. This year’s benefit was the most successful in our history, with 280 Soirée guests contributing over $325,000 in support of The Crucible’s industrial arts programming.

Charles Olson accepted the The Crucible’s Clarion Award for his generous support of the arts and the work of The Crucible.

Charles R. Olson was honored with The Crucible’s Clarion Award, a bronze bell cast by Nick DiPhillipo in our Foundry. Charles was President of The Crucible Board of Directors from 2012-2017 and Partner in the San Francisco law firm of Lubin Olson & Niewiadomski LLP. For the last sixteen years, Charles provided pro bono legal services to The Crucible on various land use, real estate, and contract issues, and was instrumental in helping The Crucible acquire its West Oakland building.

“It’s very hard to imagine how The Crucible would be in its nineteenth year without Charles Olson,” explained Michael Sturtz, founder of The Crucible. “Charles has the ability to see beyond what others would see as roadblocks.”
Past honorees include Dr. Frances Hellman, Crucible Founder Michael Sturtz, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, Exploratorium Executive Director Dennis Bartels, and Christopher and Camille Bently from the Bently Foundation.
The evening began with a beautiful rendition of “Ain’t No Way,” by Netta Brielle, and a fiery performance of Butterfly Vendetta, based on Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 Madame Butterfly opera, directed by Crucible founder Michael Sturtz.

During the art auction, run by the talented Ed Gold, generous attendees bid on 18 pieces of art, donated by The Crucible’s community of master artists, makers, and fabricators, including Sean Orlando of Five Ton Crane, Carl Bass of Autodesk, and cast glass master John Lewis.

Maritza Bernal Magaña, 18, spoke of The Crucible’s impact on her artistic development and thanked donors for their support.

Then guests heard from eighteen-year-old Maritza Bernal Magaña, a Fuego Youth Leader in Welding, who spoke about the transformative impact The Crucible’s art programs had on her self-confidence.
“The Crucible gives myself and other women the opportunity to demonstrate that we are strong enough to do things our society believes we cannot,” Maritza explained. “I’m standing here to inspire other women to overcome their fears, try new things, and demonstrate to themselves what they can do.”
Maritza was recently accepted with a full scholarship to Mills College, where she plans to study to become a teacher for students with special needs.
See photos from the event below, and thank you to everyone who came out and helped support The Crucible’s mission. We couldn’t do it without you!

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