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.

Mission Statement

The Crucible inspires creative exploration and expression through welcoming, hands-on arts education and experiences for people of diverse ages and backgrounds. As an innovative hub built around the industrial arts, The Crucible is a catalyst for individual growth and vibrant community connections.

Vision Statement

A leader in the Bay Area arts community, The Crucible is widely recognized for its exceptional learning experiences, rich and varied arts programs, skilled and committed faculty, and unparalleled educational facilities.

Values Statements

We believe in the power of making and creative risk-taking.

We celebrate awe-inspiring arts-based experiences and our ability to foster and share them.

We create an environment that is fun, respectful, non-competitive, and welcoming to anyone who wants to participate.

We nurture others and ourselves by creating a safe environment in which to test the boundaries of new abilities and artistic expression.

We appreciate varied life experiences, perspectives and abilities, and believe that we can all learn from one another through shared creative endeavor.

We value the skills, craftsmanship and knowledge of our faculty, staff, and students, and celebrate our opportunities to offer access to broad-ranging expertise and artistic excellence.

> Read about our History.

Take a Tour!

Find out what we have to offer in a free, guided tour of our 56,000 square foot facility. Tours are given on the first Tuesday of the month at 6pm, and on the third Saturday at 3pm, except during holidays and special events.

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

From welding to glass blowing to woodworking to jewelry-making to fire dancing, classes are designed to bring together beginners and experienced artists and 
tradespeople to create a one-of-a-kind learning environment. We offer a non-competitive, open environment where people with diverse interests and backgrounds can work together and learn from one another. Our building 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, including
 our iconic Fire Arts Festivals, operas, and the annual Hot Couture fashion show. Maintaining collaborations with highly trained craft and industrial artists, our goal is to create memorable events.

We depend on annual membership donations and other gifts from individuals 
to continue to offer low-cost classes and special programs. Tuition only covers 65% of our annual budget, so 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

With classes in welding, blacksmithing, neon, glass blowing, ceramics, jewelry, robotics, and more, The Crucible provides 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 welcome all levels—from absolute beginners to experienced artists and craftspeople—to a learning environment where people can work together to create something amazing.

Our adult course offerings come in a variety of formats, including 10 week courses, 5 week courses, weeklong courses, tasters, and weekend intensives. Youth classes are available after school, on weekends, in Spring and Summer camps, or in special workshops and community projects. 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 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 tradespeople 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 a year, 150 celebrated faculty and industrial arts experts teach over 1,000 classes and workshops to more than 5,000 students; local companies take part in more than 100 team building events; and our award-winning youth program serves over 4,000 youths in classes, camps, workshops, and outreach programs

A dedicated staff of 40 people keeps The Crucible running, but as a nonprofit we depend heavily on the unique skill-sets of our diverse volunteer force. Our volunteer pool—around 150 individuals active at any given time—helps power nearly every aspect of what we do, from the office to the studio floor, from the youth program to our renowned events. 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.

Our Events

We actively reach out to the local West Oakland and greater Bay Area communities through our robust offering of special events, our monthly Bicycle Fix-A-Thons, and lectures, demonstrations, and performances by various artisans and tradespeople.

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.