By Kristin Arzt
Last Monday, Kasa Du, age 13, stepped into The Crucible’s 56,000-square-foot facility for the first time for her first day of Youth Camps. The Crucible is the largest industrial arts nonprofit in the county, and for the first time ever, it offered five different youth camps during Spring Break completely free, specifically for Oakland youth who did not have the financial resources necessary to participate.
For Kasa Du, coming to The Crucible was eye-opening for a number of reasons. “I didn’t even know that teaching art was a job that you get paid to do,” she told us. “I want to work here one day!” Kasa Du enrolled in both Youth Blacksmithing and Youth Exploration in Jewelry, and while Blacksmithing was a little hot for her taste, she still had fun forging a hook, bracelet, and bottle opener out of steel and rebar.
Kasa Du was one of 42 students who participated in The Crucible’s Youth Camps completely free. The three-day free youth camps, coupled with youth scholarship spots in our weeklong youth camps, made The Crucible’s 2019 youth spring camps the most accessible in Crucible history.
In Clay Critters, Kasa Du’s brother, Ku Rah, explored basic science concepts and practiced problem solving when learning how to handle clay. “You take your thumb and put it in the clay and make air inside, so it doesn’t explode,” the eight-year-old explained, adding assuredly, “My mug won’t explode.”
Research supported by the National Endowment for the Arts found that art-related education can significantly increase test scores. When comparing students’ standardized test scores from before art classes with those taken afterwards, a research team at University of Arkansas found the class that attended art classes’ scores rose by 12.4%.