About The Crucible

About The Crucible

The Crucible is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts education organization that fosters a collaboration of arts, industry, and community.  Through training in the fine and industrial arts, The Crucible promotes creative expression, reuse of materials, and innovative design, while serving as an accessible arts venue for the general public in the Bay Area. Known for one-of-a-kind industrial arts education programs, The Crucible is also highly regarded for its innovative performances.

Learn more about our mission, vision and history…


Overview

We place emphasis on community partnerships and creating an open learning 
environment. At The Crucible, forges roar, sparks fly, glass bends, neon glows, and creativity explodes.

Over the last 14 years, The Crucible has grown into a premier fine and 
industrial art center where art thrives, is accessible and inspirational. In 2003, The Crucible moved from Berkeley to West Oakland and since then thousands of people have attended classes, lectures, and community events.

During 2012, The Crucible offered 400 evening and weekend workshops 
to 5,000 youth and adult students. From welding to torch cutting to woodworking to jewelry making to fire dancing, talented artists and craftspeople work alongside industrial experts to create a one-of-a-kind learning environment.

Classes are designed to bring together novices as well as experienced artists and 
trades people. We offer a noncompetitive, open environment where people with diverse interests and backgrounds can work together and learn from one another. Our 56,000 square foot facility is also home to 18 artist studios leased to students and local artists at affordable rates.

Since 1999, The Crucible has produced a wide variety of events ranging 
from our iconic Fire Arts Festivals to operas to fashion shows. Maintaining collaborations with highly trained craft and industrial artists, our goal is to create memorable annual as well as once-in-a-lifetime events. 

We depend on annual membership donations and other gifts from individuals 
to continue to offer low-cost classes and special programs. Tuition covers 65% of our annual budget. We need your support now more than ever to continue to grow and expand our programs.

From the beginning, a strong community of volunteers created the foundations 
of the success for The Crucible. Join our volunteer program and participate first-hand in this unique place.

Our Courses

From metal fabrication, blacksmithing, neon, glass blowing, ceramics, welding, kinetics, and fire dancing, The Crucible provides cutting-edge arts education programs to 5,000 adult and youth students annually.  Our instructors have extensive experience and a passion for what they teach. Our
industrial art classes are designed to attract novices as well as experienced artists and craftspeople to a noncompetitive environment where people with diverse interests and backgrounds can work together and learn from one another.

Our
course offerings come in a variety of formats, including 10 week courses, 5 week courses, weeklong courses, tasters, and weekend intensives. Our classes feature an extremely low faculty to student ratio (often 1:6), and a hands-on teaching approach. Our all-inclusive pricing structure encompasses both tuition and studio fees and includes all the materials, tool access, and safety training that one needs in order to complete the course. There are no shopping lists for supplies or hidden costs in any class we teach.


Blacksmithing Machine Shop
Ceramics Moldmaking
Enameling Neon & Light
Fire Performance Artist’s Resources
Foundry Stone Working
Glass Soft Sculpture & Textiles
Hot Wheels Welding
Jewelry Woodworking
Kinetic & Electronics Youth Classes


The goal of all of our classes is to give you comprehensive skills to work successfully in the given areas. In most of the classes this is done through project-based lessons that help you develop your skills while creating a finished piece.  There are also opportunities in many classes to experiment with the skills you learn, however, depending on the scope and size of the project you may be responsible for your own additional materials. 

Our studio also provides two options for more skilled artisans and trades people who want access to our studio and tools.
Studio Access Labs offer students a chance to continue their hands-on practice in areas where they are currently taking or have taken a class. The CREATE Program (The Crucible’s Expanded Access to Tools and Equipment) gives Crucible members a chance to work in the studio areas of their choice during regular studio hours after passing a safety checkout for each area.

Our Community

In one year, over
85 celebrated faculty and industrial arts experts teach nearly 175 classes and workshops to around 5,000 students a year, our award-winning youth program serves over 900 youths in classes and camps, and 15 to 20 companies take part in our team building program. Various artisans and tradespeople are invited to give lectures, demonstrations, and performances throughout the year.

A dedicated staff of 20 people keeps The Crucible running, but as a nonprofit we depend on
volunteers to help power nearly every aspect of what we do. From the office to the studio floor, from the youth program and kids activities to our renowned events, we rely on the unique skill-sets of our diverse volunteer force. At any given time, we have an ongoing volunteer force of 80–100, and during our fundraising events, that number swells to over 1,200 individuals. Volunteers earn discounts on classes as well as the satisfaction of being an integral part of one of the nation’s top industrial arts facilities.

We also actively reach out to the local West Oakland community and the greater
Bay Area community through our robust offering of yearly events and our monthly Bicycle Fix-A-Thons.

Fine and Industrial Arts Education for youth and adults Studio Access Programs
Corporate Team Building Workshops Membership Programs
Youth Workshops Volunteer and Youth Internship Programs
Youth Spring and Summer Camps Custom Fabrication Services
Family Fun Weekends Community Open Houses
Weeklong Immersion Programs Annual Fire Theater Performances
Studio Rental Space for Artists Fire Arts Festivals
Community Outreach Programs

Our Events

Our community comes together at our yearly fundraisers, which include our popular Fire Arts Festival, as well as our anniversary
events, which in the past have featured either a Fire Opera or Fire Ballet. Throughout the year we offer three Open Houses (in April, September, and December), as well as four evening Fireside Lounges (in February, May, August and October).

One-of-a-kind Industrial Arts Experience

At The Crucible, people come together to share skills, and forge objects and friendships. In a world filled with automated technology, The Crucible offers adult and youth students alike a chance to get their hands dirty and make useful or artful objects themselves, from scratch, and from start to finish. Our youth program has gained regional attention for its ability to positively transform the lives of our students. Tara Murray, a faculty member in our glass flameworking department, reported:

“A young girl started the first day of glass flameworking summer camp with her head down, shaggy hair completely obscuring her face, shoulders slumped forward. Students in our class work independently, and her hands proved skillful as she learned the craft with quiet focus and concentration. She gained confidence in her own abilities, and this in turn gave her self-confidence within the group; by the end of the week, she was sitting up, engaged, curious eyes wide open, her hair tied back in a red bandanna. Her last journal page was filled with drawings of herself at the torch, wearing her bandanna, saying, “Goodbye fire.” I’m pretty sure she meant the torch, because I saw some fire in her that I think she’ll be keeping.”

But this transformative effect isn’t limited to youth alone. Adults come to The Crucible to flex their creative muscles and take a break from their regular routines. Those who make their living working on computers all day report that they experience a sense of relaxation by getting to use their hands to create something tangible. 

Curious to find out more? We offer free tours of our facility every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6:00pm, except during holidays and events. Come in and check us out!