by Kristin Arzt

LR Altman

LR Altman came to The Crucible seeking a creative community of fellow artists. She found this community here, and developed her relationship to art as a healing practice and a therapeutic resource. She sees The Crucible as a hub that brings diverse people together and fosters creative community. “No matter where you are in your life or what your background is, there is a place for you here.” Her studio at The Crucible is her personal haven where she is free to create.

LR joined The Crucible’s CREATE Program in 2014. Through the CREATE Program, LR has access to the tools, equipment, and studio space to create sculptures, both formal and abstract. LR says that her studio here makes her creative possibilities endless, “I am only limited by my own time and my own vision and there are no excuses anymore at all.” Her art goes beyond the walls of The Crucible into community involvement. She has built out sections of Children’s Fairyland using music and interactive design; she installed steps at the Santa Clara Public Library; and she has even made Parking Meters more interesting.

We sat down with LR to learn why she has been creating art and sculpture at The Crucible for the last 3 years.

What first brought you to The Crucible?

I wanted to be part of a community of artists. Before joining The Crucible, I was starting to feel really isolated in my East Oakland studio. At my old studio, there were days where I wouldn’t talk to very many other people. I found community at The Crucible, and within this community, I like to be a resource and use other artists as a resource.

What materials do you work with at The Crucible?

I work a lot with glass and clay. When I first got here, I could not believe the wax room. To have all of that at my fingertips is a dream come true to me. It has influenced my work that I otherwise would not have made. I am only limited by my own time and my own vision. It’s incredible to be in this situation where I am only limited by myself. That is terrifying, but it’s also liberating.

What keeps you creating?

My work is a therapeutic outlet for me that keeps me connected with myself. When I’m in my studio doing my creative work, I am naturally in sync with the universe. My studio here is my haven, my comfort zone.

How do you feel The Crucible has impacted the community?

We’re living in a culture of consumerism, and a lot of people are not fulfilled by that. The Crucible is a place you can learn to create instead of just consume. And there are fewer and fewer of those places around.

What has been your favorite public art project?

When I was a child, I used to go to through Thumbelina’s tunnel in Children’s Fairyland and I remember it being really scary. When they had a call for artists to redo the tunnel, I was like, “Yes! I want to redo that tunnel!” I put together a team of myself, a music composer, a muralist, and an instrument maker. We decided that we would turn it into the Fairy Music Farm, so the children could go there to make music. I did the project management, and also fabricated terrazzo and concrete furniture for the project. It was really fun! It was about making the space a good experience for people there.

Do you have one word you would describe The Crucible as?

Well, the name is perfect because The Crucible is where different things come together and create energy. But I think one word to describe The Crucible would be vital.

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