Important Update From Our Executive Director

Released 5.27.2020

Dear Crucible Community,

I am writing to update you all with difficult news.

Since closing, The Crucible has been working hard to do everything it can to support our community of working artists and staff. We have distributed over $24,000 in funds to our most impacted through our Emergency Relief Fund, collaborated with food providers to eliminate food insecurity by providing free groceries and pre-packaged meals to our community, covered healthcare costs, promoted our faculty’s art through our online store and Virtual Artist Talks, forgiven studio rent fees, and more.

The Crucible is planning to slowly and safely resume some operations starting in July 2020, which means that our 2020 Youth Camps are happening, with limited spots available and new safety measures in place. We are excited about the path to re-opening, but after running our budget projections and considering the costs of new, smaller class sizes for the foreseeable future, as well as the necessary safety and sanitation expenses to facilitate a safe re-opening, we know we cannot continue to operate with the same number of staff we would normally.

The Crucible had a reduction in force this week, eliminating 11 staff positions in the studio and our office-based departments. We decided to eliminate these jobs as part of a process to cut costs so The Crucible can remain open. The impact of COVID-19 will cost an estimated $1.6 million in earned revenue this year. By trimming jobs, reducing hours worked for staff who continue to be employed, and having some of our highest-paid staffers, including the Executive Director, take voluntary pay cuts, we are seeking to reduce our losses to a manageable level, one that will allow us to continue to operate and rebuild.

Staffers who are part of the reduction in force receive all their accrued vacation time, are able to receive Crucible funding for three months of COBRA if they are receiving health benefits, and are welcome to continue participating in our Community Relief Fund, and receive free groceries from our weekly free food distribution.

This was a very sad and difficult decision. We have an amazing, wonderful team of hard-working and creative people. As we re-open, it will be a much smaller version of The Crucible and one with significantly smaller revenue. Our programs and offerings will be reduced in quantity and the number of students attending each session. The smaller staff is dedicated to rebuilding The Crucible, and reimagining how we can best effect our mission in the new world we find ourselves in.

While The Crucible has been closed, I have seen you all step up to support our work and our community. Know that our relief efforts and support work are not ending. The Crucible is committed to continuing to provide free groceries and pre-packaged food to those who need it for the rest of the year. We have effectively fundraised to grow our Emergency Fund, so we can continue to disburse monies to those who need it most. We are implementing best practices in health and safety so that we can begin employing our working artists again, safely in the classroom. We are working to pilot online courses for our departments where it makes sense. And soon, we will launch our mobile-Crucible programs to bring some of the magic of The Crucible around the Bay Area.

I look forward to sharing those programs with you and to a future where we are creating together and supporting the community of friends, artists, and makers we all value.

Thank you,
Susan Mernit and the Executive Team (Kua Patten, Alyssa Stone, Renee Ventimiglia, and Natasha von Kaenel)

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