Executive Director Susan Mernit to Retire from The Crucible in February 2023


After four and a half years, The Crucible’s Executive Director, Susan Mernit, will retire from her role as of February 1, 2023. The Crucible has been incredibly fortunate to have Susan at the helm. Under her thoughtful guidance, our organization has evolved into an arts hub that not only supports hundreds of working artists, but also provides a space for students of all ages and backgrounds to explore their creativity through classes, workshops, and entrepreneurial pathways.

susan mernt retires

Susan’s passion for creative problem-solving has been a pillar of her leadership. Since her arrival in 2018, Susan has spearheaded a number of Crucible programs, including ERV 2.0, our Open For Business program for Bay Area artisan entrepreneurs, and the expansion of our free Bike Shop programming, providing greater access to reliable transportation for our West Oakland community.

Susan also helped The Crucible navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, working closely with our leadership team to secure funding for groceries and PPP loans to maintain staffing while regular income channels were halted. She has also increased pay for our faculty and staff and helped lead DEI education across the organization.

We are so grateful for Susan’s unwavering leadership and her lasting impact on our organization. Thank you for everything, Susan!

Susan has done an outstanding job expanding social programming at The Crucible. Our growth supporting career pathways in light manufacturing and digital fabrication, support for BIPOC small business makers, and expanded access for local high school youth have benefited from Susan’s focus. Her support for more consistent relationships with local schools and community have also been impactful: The relaunched glassblowing program, the expanded bike program, the new femme bike night and weekly bike open shop hours, and an expanded and refreshed youth leadship program have all benefited from her support

Shawnee Keck, Crucible Board Member

During Susan’s tenure, she has strengthened and transformed The Crucible to better serve the local community’s needs. Her programmatic leadership has made the industrial arts more accessible to students of all backgrounds, especially BIPOC and low-income youth and adults from Oakland. Her leadership and deep commitment as we experienced a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic made The Crucible an essential community-based arts organization, stronger than it’s ever been.

Cindy Johanson, Crucible Board Member

A Note From Executive Director, Susan Mernit, Ahead of Her Retirement:

After almost five years as the Executive Director of The Crucible, I am retiring to refocus my energy on other priorities: relationships, family, and health. My time at The Crucible has been incredibly precious for me. Collaborating with and leading the amazing community of artists, makers, and cultural leaders at The Crucible has been a privilege. It has also been an honor to serve the Oakland and Bay Area community, making Crucible classes and experiences accessible to more than 60,000 people over the past four years.

I want to thank everyone on my team who so often went above and beyond to deliver on our goals. I also have immense gratitude for our board who have supported our work through COVID-19 and recentering the organization around a deep sense of equity and inclusion, as well as through a number of building renovations and classroom improvements.

To the amazing donors, corporate partners, sponsors, and foundation funders who supported The Crucible during my tenure—thank you! I also thank everyone who has been a thought partner in the evolution of The Crucible, from trusted faculty members who have taught here for 20+ years to local community artists and activists who came to us more recently—you have all truly helped us grow.

It’s been such a pleasure to work with all of you. Here’s to the continued success of The Crucible!


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