See The 2023 Fire & Light Soirée In Photos

By Cathy Niland | 6.15.2023

For months, our team prepared for the return of our annual Fire & Light Soirée and Art Auction to our West Oakland facility. Every email, every meeting, every idea was carefully considered so our community could come together to celebrate and support our Youth Industrial Arts Program.

On Saturday, May 20, our 2023 Soirée kicked off with demonstrations from Glass Blowing Department Co-Heads, Kate Drury and Sam Schumacher while DJ Speakeasy Ray spun a curated set. Guests enjoyed Hors d’oeuvres by Grace Street Catering, wine from Concannon Vineyard and Cannonball Wines, Beer from Ghost Town Brewing, and cocktails featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka while exploring the 15 works of art in our auction gallery and catching up with old friends.

Our Mission In Action–Thanks To You

As our seated dinner began, emcee D’Arcy Drollinger (recently named the first Drag Laureate of San Francisco) treated the crowd to a fire-themed drag medley. Following D’Arcy’s performance, Youth Honoree, Freddie Moussa, made a moving speech about finding community at The Crucible. 

“When I first joined as a Fuego Youth Leader in 2021, I wasn’t sure I’d finish the program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I struggled with severe depression and couldn’t see a future for myself. Coming to The Crucible that summer was my first time being around so many people after an extremely isolating period. I was still dealing with mental health challenges. I didn’t feel I had the potential. I couldn’t see myself as an artist.”

Freddie continued, “Coming to The Crucible was the best decision I ever made. I don’t know who I’d be today or if I’d be here if I hadn’t come. The jewelry studio became my safe space where I felt comfortable being myself without judgment or expectation. My mentor Rikki showed me that I not only have potential as an artist but have space at the Crucible.”

Following Freddie’s speech, D’Arcy added, “To create really great art is to come from an authentic place. And to create a space where youth can be their authentic selves is so vital, especially now. I really want to applaud The Crucible for creating programs for the youth and creating space where they are safe.”

We also had the pleasure of honoring Rudsdale High School educators Alessandra Cabrera, Jennifer Romero, Beto Salcido, Francisco Sanchez, and Julian Felix, as our Community Honorees. Rudsdale educators give so much of themselves to their students, ensuring they have access to a well-rounded education, including hands-on classes at The Crucible.

Art Auction Makes A Splash

As dessert arrived, the auction began, led by Greg Quiroga of Stellar Fundraising Auctions. From artwork made by Crucible artists to one-of-a-kind experiences, it was one of our most exciting auctions to date. By the end of the evening, we raised more than $45,000 through our auction alone. 

In the final hour of the evening, guests enjoyed a special performance featuring the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir directed by Terrance Kelly and The Crucible’s Foundry Department. As the choir’s voices filled the rafters, Foundry faculty members, Ivan Berejkoff and Kirsten Kelly, delivered a spectacular demonstration, casting the Oakland tree in bronze.

We so appreciate all of the hard work of our team in making this event happen. From our Development team to our Studio staff and everyone in between, it was a huge group effort with so many moving parts. And a special thank you to our event planner, David Newcomb, who supported us every step of the way.

Make sure you check out our Soirée gallery below to relive the magic. We can’t wait to see you next year for our 25th anniversary Soirée celebration.

2023 Fire & Light Soirée Gallery

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