20 Years of Art, Transformation, and Fire

By Cathy Niland | 12.23.19

It’s hard to believe 20 years have passed since establishing our first (and much smaller) studio in Berkeley. We kicked off 2019 with a renewed dedication to expanding class offerings, adding dozens of new options and bringing back several old favorites. We also expanded our Fuego Youth Leadership Program and introduced the first in a three-year OUSD grant-funded partnership with McClymonds High School. We reviewed and updated our values to be more inclusive (more on that to come in the new year) and put diversity and equity training at the forefront thanks to a grant from the Hewlett Foundation.

Everything we accomplished was only possible thanks to our dedicated staff, faculty, volunteers, donors, and community members. We have big things planned for 2020, like the expansion of our Gear Girls Program, new craft entrepreneurship pathways for artists, and a partnership with OUSD. Check out the highlights from 2019 below. We can’t wait to see you in 2020!

2019 has been an amazing year for The Crucible. We turbo-charged our mission to make industrial arts education accessible to everyone by expanding our youth programs, bringing back our adult scholarship program, and increasing the diversity of our adult and youth offerings. Bringing fire performance back was a great way to honor our history, while stepping up our programs in digital fabrication and foundry was a leap into our future.

Susan Mernit
Crucible Executive Director

2019 In Review


Celebrating 20 years of industrial arts magic

On January 15, we celebrated twenty years of industrial arts education in the East Bay. In honor of this anniversary, we expanded access for youth and adults, recommitted to fire arts, increased the scope of our class offerings, and had a great party. Thank you to everyone who has supported The Crucible’s mission for the past twenty years.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


Offering our first free spring break camps for Oakland youth

For the first time ever, we announced five different art camps, completely free to students ages 12-15 who were interested in industrial arts learning, but lacking financial resources. Camp offerings included Copper Metal Clay, Fused Glass Sculpture, Neon Glass Bending, Bike Mechanics and Design, and Intro to Welded Sculpture.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


Building The Legacy Of Raphael Allen

At Our Spring Open House in March, we raised money for the Raphael Allen Fund, which provides full and partial adult scholarships for people of color who live in Oakland and need financial support. The fund was established in honor of Allen’s dedication to education and sharing the history of under-represented people through tours, writings, and talks.


The Fire & Light Soiree: A Night Of Fire, Feasting, And Fundraising

On April 6, The Crucible held a special 20th Anniversary Fire & Light Soirée and Art Auction. Soirée guests contributed over $240,000 in support of our industrial arts programming and bid on unique pieces from our faculty and students, including a special piece by Forging The Future Fellowship winner, Rakau “Rocky” Boikanyo.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


Our Foundry Pulled Off An Elaborate Iron Pour

In May, our Foundry department came together to cast over 1000 pounds of molten iron into a variety of ceramic shell and resin-bonded sand molds. Crucible staff, faculty, volunteer, donors, and foundry students past and present packed into our parking lot to see the epic and elaborate iron pour in person.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


Transformative Funding Helps Put Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion At The Forefront

The Crucible was awarded $40,000 from the Hewlett Foundation to fund multiple conversations and trainings around diversity and inclusion for The Crucible’s staff, faculty, and board. With this funding, our team has established shared language and understanding helping us make thoughtful, informed decisions about how we operate in our space, hold each other accountable, and ensure The Crucible is a safe space for everyone to work, be creative, and learn together.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


The Launch Of 34 New Classes

July saw one of our busiest registration days ever, and with 34 new class offerings, we were thrilled to see our community so excited. For the first time, students could sign up for new classes like Metal Clay Forms From Nature, Belt and Buckle, or Wooden Toy—the best option for the aspiring toymaker.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


Expansion Of Our Fuego Youth Leadership Program

In honor of its tenth year, we expanded the Fuego Youth Leadership program from two-weeks to four, giving participants a greater opportunity to learn from their mentors, build leadership skills, and create stunning projects. In their final reception on August 2, Fuegos presented large welded sculptures, delicate metal crowns, etched blown glass pieces and more.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


Nearly 1,600 Visitors Came To Our Fall Open House

At our 2019 Fall Open House, we were blown away by our largest crowd yet, with over 1,600 industrial arts enthusiasts of all ages throughout the day. Guests enjoyed live demos in all 19 of our departments, fire performances throughout the day, and hands-on activities like stone carving, shibori indigo dyeing, and wet welding—a dangerous practice made completely safe in our controlled fish tank simulation.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


McClymonds High School Students Tackle Hands-on STEAM Learning

As part of a new partnership with McClymonds High School, engineering students are taking a series of hands-on STEAM classes at The Crucible for school credits. In addition to applying their engineering knowledge in welding classes, students are also taking a series of fine art and other metalworking classes to expose them to entrepreneurial opportunities.

20th Anniversary Re-cap


Sharing Badass Maker Stories Helps Us Launch Our Fall Campaign

To kick off the launch of our #BeABadass campaign we set a goal to get 100 new donors to support our industrial arts programming. Our community showed up in full force sharing what about The Crucible inspires them and helping us secure more than 100 new donations, unlocking an anonymous donation of $5,000 toward our $100,000 end-of-year goal!

20th Anniversary Re-cap


The Best Bay Area Holiday Shopping Happened At The Crucible

Every year, we throw a massive two-day craft fair and open house in celebration of the Bay Area’s creative community. This year was our biggest GIFTY yet with more than 70 local vendors, selling hand-made and artisan goods. And in our first-ever Giving Back At Gifty, items donated by our vendors helped us raise more than $1,200 for our programs.

20th Anniversary Re-cap

Thank You For Making With Us For 20 Years!

Here’s to 20 more and beyond. Happy holidays!

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