Crucible History 2017-04-13T11:17:33+00:00

Crucible History

The Crucible first opened its doors on January 15th, 1999, in a rented 6,000 square foot warehouse in West Berkeley. Sculptor Michael Sturtz, leading a small, dedicated cohort, shared his vision of a new kind of industrial arts educational experience that offered anyone and everyone the opportunity to be creative. A small grant of $1,750 inspired them to start off, and The Crucible began its first session with 11 classes, seven of them taught by Sturtz himself. Since then, with the generous support of faculty, donors, volunteers, students, staff, members, and the local community, The Crucible has grown to become the largest non-profit industrial arts education facility in the United States. Together, we have brought the positive creative force of art into our community, each year introducing more people to the rewards of creating with their hands and imagination.

1999

  • Jan – The Crucible was founded by Michael Sturtz
  • Mar – First classes began in March
  • Jun – Dreams became reality, with the first ever Fire Arts Festival, a one-day event in Berkeley

2000

  • Jan – We launched our SPARC (Student Program and Resources at The Crucible) Youth Program with five classes
  • Mar – Jun – The Crucible expanded its facility from 6,000 to 17,000 square feet
  • Oct – The Crucible launched by-appointment tours and fieldtrips

2001

  • Apr – First Student Art Show and Spring Open House
  • Jul – The Crucible launched hourly shop rental for experienced students and individuals
  • Sep – The Crucible began to offer corporate team building workshops

2002

  • Feb – Michael Sturtz presented bronze commemorative fire axe to the heroes of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY Battalion 8 Midtown, in honor of 9/11)
  • Sep – Phoenix Fundraising Campaign to move to larger facility
  • Oct – The Crucible closes Ashby/Murray facility in Berkeley

2003

  • Mar – Grand reopening in our new Oakland facility with the “Ignite!” gala event, where Mayor Jerry Brown dedicated the building by breaking a flaming bottle of champagne over an anvil
  • Jun – Special bronze pour for Industrial Light & Magic, to create raw footage of molten metal as source material for animated credits on Pirates of the Caribbean movie
  • Dec – First annual GIFTY holiday art sale and open house

2004

  • Jan – The First Fire Opera, Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell, performed to celebrate our 5th Anniversary
  • May – Aquatic Fire Opera Fundraiser
  • Jul – The first Oakland Fire Arts Festival featured the Hand of God by the Flaming Lotus Girls, our largest urban fire installation to date

2005

  • Jan – Mother of All Reality TV show for National Geographic Channel
  • Jan – Youth Program launched in Oakland
  • Feb – First community Bike Fix-A-Thons in collaboration with The Bike Kitchen in San Francisco

2006

  • Jan – Youth Fired Up Program launched
  • Apr – Red Caboose is donated, rebuilt, and refurbished as a functioning work space
  • May – Installed solar panels on the roof and begin to offset our electrical use

2007

  • Jan – First Fire Ballet, Romeo & Juliet
  • Apr – Kristy Alfieri, Education Director, and Carla Hall, Youth and Community Manager, received Bay Area Jefferson Award
  • Sep – The Crucible’s Die-sel Moto set a new diesel motorcycle landspeed world record at 130.614 MPH

2008

  • Jan – To celebrate our ninth anniversary, Hot Couture was launched
  • Apr – The Crucible’s Benefit Fire Ballet: Firebird “L’oiseau de feu”
  • Jul – Artist in residence at de Young Museum, in conjunction with the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit

2009

  • Jan – To celebrate our ten year anniversary, we produced our first entirely original theatrical event, the Fire Ballet, Dracul: Prince of Fire, written by Michael Sturtz
  • Aug – The Crucible hosted the Annual Enamellist Society Conference
  • Oct – Cartonería workshop at The Exploratorium

2010

  • Apr – Youth Program displayed their altered bike frames at the DeYoung Friday Night Programming
  • Jun – Artist in residence at California Academy of Sciences
  • Jul – Heat: A Fire Cabaret

2011

  • Jan – The Crucible Revival performance retrospective
  • May – Fuego Youth Leadership Program launched
  • Jul – Inferno: A Fire Circus

2012

  • May – Bike Bridge installed in Uptown Oakland, led by Michael Christian and fabricated by young women from our Youth Programs
  • Apr – First Science of Art open house, in partnership with the Exploratorium
  • Nov – Crucible hosted 50 Years of Studio Art Glass

2013

  • Mar – Artist in residence at The Asian Art Museum
  • Jun – First participated in the East Bay Open Studios
  • Oct – The Crucible hosted Urban Manufacturing Association Convening Kick-Off Party & Manufacturing Day Celebration

2014

  • Jun – Pre-Apprentice Program launched, culminating in a public art project with City Slicker Farms
  • Jul – The Crucible hosted East Bay Mini Maker Faire Kick-off and Town Hall
  • Jul – Oakland Magazine won Editor’s Award for Best Place To Share Creative Quality Time With Your Teen

2015

  • Jun – Youth summer camps expand to six full weeks of programming, with 800 youth students engaged in summer programs
  • Oct – The Crucible awarded The Civic Award for Public Benefit and Community Empowerment from Civic Pride
  • Dec – The Crucible featured in the New York Times article “36 Hours in Oakland, California”

2016

  • Jul – Fuego Youth Leadership Program doubles in size, accommodating 20 high school students during summer camps
  • May – National MakerEd conference held at The Crucible for educators
  • Sep – Pre-Apprentice sculpture installed in front of The Crucible

2017

  • Feb – Hot Couture expanded to 4 nights of fire and fashion