Starting in June, students participating in our Pre-Apprentice Program worked with The Crucible’s Blacksmithing, Machine Shop, and Welding Departments to build an archway for the main student entrance.

The archway is made up of a series of circles, and each circle, or “gear,” of the archway represents each of The Crucible’s 19 departments. Nathan Williams, 18, explains what the archway means to him as a student in the Pre-Apprentice program, “The gears represent The Crucible – everything is connected. When the gears of The Crucible rotate together, everything works in unison.”

Now installed, the archway acts as a testament to the creativity and potential of our space, students, and faculty. “The archway brings art, industry, and community together,” says Chris Neimer, who leads the program. “The Pre-Apprentice program is a crucial step for the youth enrolled to make a lasting piece of art at The Crucible, and this archway is a true ‘Crucible’ piece of art.”

Pre-Apprentice student Abdollah Hamdan, age 20, first started taking classes at The Crucible at 12 years old. For him, the hardest part of building the archway was overcoming his fear in the shop. “I had a phobia after a bad accident and I didn’t want to go anywhere near the machines. At the start of the program, whenever the hydraulic press would be on, I couldn’t be in the same room . . . But by the end, I was using the press! I was able to overcome my fears, because of my friends’ encouragement.”

Nathan Williams has been taking classes at The Crucible since he was 8 years old. We asked if he had any wisdom for students considering the Pre-Apprentice program. He put it simply: “Definitely be ready to work hard and get your hands dirty.”

Make sure to check out the newly installed arch on your next visit to The Crucible. And let us know what your favorite gear is!

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