Crucible History2019-02-20T16:15:32+00:00

Crucible History

The Crucible first opened its doors on January 15th, 1999, in a rented 6,000 square foot warehouse in West Berkeley. Sculptor Michael Sturtz, leading a small, dedicated cohort, shared his vision of a new kind of industrial arts educational experience that offered anyone and everyone the opportunity to be creative. A small grant of $1,750 inspired them to start off, and The Crucible began its first session with 11 classes, seven of them taught by Sturtz himself. Since then, with the generous support of faculty, donors, volunteers, students, staff, members, and the local community, The Crucible has grown to become the largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the United States. Together, we have brought the positive creative force of art into our community, each year introducing more people to the rewards of creating with their hands and imagination.


  • Jan – The Crucible was founded by Michael Sturtz
  • Mar – First classes began in March
  • Jun – Dreams became reality, with the first ever Fire Arts Festival, a one-day event in Berkeley


  • Jan – We launched our SPARC (Student Program and Resources at The Crucible) Youth Program with five classes
  • Mar – Jun – The Crucible expanded its facility from 6,000 to 17,000 square feet
  • Oct – The Crucible launched by-appointment tours and field trips


  • Apr – First Student Art Show and Spring Open House
  • Jul – The Crucible launched hourly shop rental for experienced students and individuals
  • Sep – The Crucible began to offer corporate team building workshops


  • Feb – Michael Sturtz presented bronze commemorative fire axe to the heroes of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY Battalion 8 Midtown, in honor of 9/11)
  • Sep – Phoenix Fundraising Campaign to move to larger facility
  • Oct – The Crucible closes Ashby/Murray facility in Berkeley


  • Mar – Grand reopening in our new Oakland facility with the “Ignite!” gala event, where Mayor Jerry Brown dedicated the building by breaking a flaming bottle of champagne over an anvil
  • Jun – Special bronze pour for Industrial Light & Magic, to create raw footage of molten metal as source material for animated credits on Pirates of the Caribbean movie
  • Dec – First annual GIFTY holiday art sale and open house


  • Jan – The First Fire Opera, Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell, performed to celebrate our 5th Anniversary
  • May – Aquatic Fire Opera Fundraiser
  • Jul – The first Oakland Fire Arts Festival featured the Hand of God by the Flaming Lotus Girls, our largest urban fire installation to date


  • Jan – Mother of All Reality TV show for National Geographic Channel
  • Jan – Youth Program launched in Oakland
  • Feb – First community Bike Fix-A-Thon in collaboration with The Bike Kitchen in San Francisco


  • Jan – Youth Fired Up Program launched
  • Apr – Red Caboose is donated, rebuilt, and refurbished as a functioning work space
  • May – Installed solar panels on the roof and begin to offset our electrical use


  • Jan – First Fire Ballet, Romeo & Juliet
  • Apr – Kristy Alfieri, Education Director, and Carla Hall, Youth and Community Manager, received Bay Area Jefferson Award
  • Sep – The Crucible’s Die-sel Moto set a new diesel motorcycle landspeed world record at 130.614 MPH


  • Jan – To celebrate our ninth anniversary, Hot Couture was launched
  • Apr – The Crucible’s Benefit Fire Ballet: Firebird “L’oiseau de feu”
  • Jul – Artist in residence at de Young Museum, in conjunction with the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit


  • Jan – To celebrate our ten year anniversary, we produced our first entirely original theatrical event, the Fire Ballet, Dracul: Prince of Fire, written by Michael Sturtz
  • Aug – The Crucible hosted the Annual Enamellist Society Conference
  • Oct – Cartonería workshop at The Exploratorium


  • Apr – Youth Program displayed their altered bike frames at the DeYoung Friday Night Programming
  • Jun – Artist in residence at California Academy of Sciences
  • Jul – Heat: A Fire Cabaret



  • May – Bike Bridge installed in Uptown Oakland, led by Michael Christian and fabricated by young women from our Youth Programs
  • Apr – First Science of Art open house, in partnership with the Exploratorium
  • Nov – Crucible hosted 50 Years of Studio Art Glass


  • Mar – Artist in residence at The Asian Art Museum
  • Jun – First participated in the East Bay Open Studios
  • Oct – The Crucible hosted Urban Manufacturing Association Convening Kick-Off Party & Manufacturing Day Celebration


  • Jun – Pre-Apprentice Program launched, culminating in a public art project with City Slicker Farms
  • Jul – The Crucible hosted East Bay Mini Maker Faire Kick-off and Town Hall
  • Jul – Oakland Magazine won Editor’s Award for Best Place To Share Creative Quality Time With Your Teen



  • Jul – Fuego Youth Leadership Program doubles in size, accommodating 20 high school students during summer camps
  • May – National MakerEd conference held at The Crucible for educators
  • Sep – Pre-Apprentice sculpture installed in front of The Crucible



  • Jan – The first group of youth students use the Machine Shop
  • Mar – Crucible Blacksmith Celeste Flores and Welder Don Plumb design and fabricate the Bay Series trophy from Bay Bridge Steel, alongside Scientific Art Studio
  • Apr – The Crucible wins Oakland Magazine’s Reader’s Choice for Best Art Classes and Best Crafting Classes in the East Bay.



MARCH 30 • 12-5pm

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