Mission and History

Mission Statement

The Crucible is a non-profit educational facility 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.
(The Crucible’s Tax ID: 52-2137825)

Vision Statement

The Crucible inspires creativity in everyone, welcoming all skill levels and all creative visions. It offers hands-on educational experiences in its uniquely safe, welcoming, non-competitive environment. From its Oakland, California based facility, it provides consistently excellent, graduated learning programs that engage students‚ from beginners to experts‚ and faculty from around the world.

The Crucible works to break down barriers for those who perceive the 
industrial arts as inaccessible. It fosters a sense of belonging for its students and community members and helps them to create rich connections and to support one another through the process of creative development.

Through active participation, The Crucible integrates art and creativity into 
everyday life. Through partnership and mutual support, it introduces art and creativity to business and industry. It supports students in developing lives and lifestyles that benefit from creative activities, and increases appreciation for and the market value of skills in the industrial arts.

Performing arts and events that demonstrate Crucible creativity and learning 
are an integral part of its program activities, offering broad access to the industrial and fine arts. Performances and events help The Crucible to meet the organization’s mission-based and financial objectives.

In order to thrive, The Crucible develops strong relationships with a range of 
institutional and individual supporters. As a model for industrial arts education, The Crucible champions ways of working that sustain our environment and, it engages other organizations in articulating best practices in pursuit of accessibility and educational excellence.

History

The Crucible first opened its doors on January 15th, 1999, in a rented 6000 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. Over the following years, with the generous support of donors, foundations, volunteers, and our members, The Crucible has grown to become the largest nonprofit 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.

Over the past ten years, there have been so many “first time ever” events and incredible accomplishments, it’s hard to pick a ”top ten” among them because each year the bar was raised, then raised again, but here are just a few of our favorite Crucible moments. –

•    1999 – Our first classes began in March and in June we celebrated the realization of a hard-earned dream with the first ever Fire Arts Festival, a one-day event in Berkeley

•    January 2000 – We launch our Youth Program with five classes

•    April 2001 – Our first Student Art Show and Spring Open House

•    September 2002 – Phoenix Fundraising Campaign launched to support the move to new and larger facility

•    March 2003 –  We celebrate our grand reopening in our new Oakland facility with the “Ignite!” gala event at which Mayor Jerry Brown dedicates the building by breaking a flaming bottle of champagne over an anvil.

•    January 2004 – The First Fire Opera, Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell, performed to celebrate our 5th Anniversary

•    July 2004 – First Fire Arts Festival in Oakland featuring the Hand of God by the Flaming Lotus Girls, our largest urban fire installation to date

•    March 2005 – Firestoker Party honors our dedicated volunteers

•    May 2006 – We install solar panels on the roof and begin to offset our electrical use

•    January 2007 – Our first Fire Ballet, Romeo & Juliet

•    July 2007 – With 39 classes for youth, we serve 500 young people, and offer the first Bicycle Frame Alteration (hyphy bike) workshop

•    July 2008 – The Crucible participates in the de Young Museum’s Artist-in-Residence program in conjunction with the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit

•    January 2009 – To celebrate our first decade of flames we produce our first entirely original theatrical event, the Fire Ballet, Dracul: Prince of Fire, written by Michael Sturtz

Full Crucible Timeline

1999

January
15th – The Crucible was founded in Berkeley, CA

February
The Crucible launches a Material Re-use Warehouse to turn what would be landfill into materials for creative expression.

March
14th – The Crucible Grand Opening and Spring Open House

June
12th – 1st Annual Fire Arts Festival

 

2000

January
22nd – Fire Feast 200 & Benefit Auction (The Crucible’s First Birthday Celebration)

April
9th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Scott Crocker screens documentary “Boneshop of the Heart”

May
21st – Crucible Lecture Series Event: David Cole: Aesthetics of the Big

June
• The Crucible expands its facility from 6,000 sq. ft. to 17,000 sq. ft.
• SPARC Youth Program launches { Student Program and Resources at The Crucible }

11th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Steve Bondi: Italian Ironwork Artisans

July
8th – 2nd Annual First Arts Festival

August
26th – The Crucible creates a Molten Heart for Burning Man in the Nevada Desert.

September
16th – Fall Open House & Mad Scientist Surplus Sale
23rd – Art Car Fest 2000

October
• The Crucible launches by-appointment tours and field trips

December
18th – Catalyst: A Juried Exhibition of Crucible Artist (The Crucible’s first juried student art show)

 

2001

February
8th – Zone Variance Meeting: Help Berkeley Keep Its Fire! (The Crucible fights to stay in Berkeley)

March
31st – Mad Scientist Sale & Spring Open House

April
• The Crucible launches fabrication & foundry services for custom fabrication and castings

June
23rd- 2nd Annual Fest of Fire Benefit

July
• The Crucible launches hourly shop rental for experienced students/individuals

September
• The Crucible launches Corporate Teambuilding Workshops

29th – Fall Open House & Fix-A-Thon
30th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Ela Lamblin: Sound Sculpture

November
• Paint the Town Red: The Crucible’s Ashby Mural is dedicated by Berkeley City Council members and Crucible leadership

 

2002

January
12th – Great Ball of Fire: 3rd Anniversary Benefit & Masquerade Ball

February
11th – Michael Sturtz presents bronze commemorative fire axe to the heroes of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY Battalion 8 Midtown, in honor of September 11th)
24th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Alleghany Meadows: Rhythm, Labor & Form: Utilitarian Pottery

March
24th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Susan Kingley: Metalsmithing & Postmodern Alchemy

April
6-7th – 3rd Annual Mad Scientist Surplus Sale & Open House
28th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Mike Hill: Monuments of Stone, Metal & Cement

June
14-15th – Crucible Special Event: Japanese Blacksmithing, Bladesmithing and Saw-making Demonstration
22nd – 3rd Annual Fire Arts Festival

July
28th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Preston Jackson: Figures, Monuments, Steel & Society

August
25th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Ned Kahn: Art, Science and Creation Though Chaos

September
21-22nd – 2nd Annual Fall Open House & Fix-A-Thon
30th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Michael Hayden: The Art of Luminosity & Light

October
27th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Albert Paley: Master of Metal
31st  – The Crucible closes Ashby/Murray facility in Berkeley

 

2003

January
1st – Crucible moves to West Oakland facility – 47,000 sq. ft.
1st – Crucible hires 5 full-time initial staff for re-opening
22nd – Crucible Conditional Use Hearing for Oakland Planning & Commission (The Crucible gets a unanimous vote to grant the permit for the new Oakland facility)
30th – Crucible closes sale of West Oakland facility

March
1st – Crucible Grand Re-Opening & Spring Open House
29th – Ignite: The Crucible Strikes A New Light (A Gala Benefit Celebrating The Crucible’s 4th Anniversary and New Home in Oakland)

April
• The Crucible launches regularly schedule tours, open to the public – Tues & Thurs at 6pm

June
3rd – 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

July
12th – PyroMania Weekend: Community Open House
13th – Explore the Fire Arts at the Flame-A-Thon
18th – Special Youth Project: Girls, Inc. Program (Girls Welding)

August
17th – Film Screening: “Burn Baby Burn” by Paynie

September
20-21st – 3rd Annual Mad Scientist Surplus Sale/Fall Open House & Fix-A-Thon

October
5th, 11th, 12th – Crucible on TV: Bay Area Backroads on KRON Channel 4
12th – Crucible Lecture Series Event: Beverly Pepper: Sculpture, Abstraction, Steel & Environment

November
8th – Firestoker Party (Volunteer Party)

December
20th – 1st Annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale and Open House

 

2004

January
16-17th – The Crucible’s 5th Anniversary Fire Opera: Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell
29th – Feb 27th – Illuminated Sculpture: Showing at The Louie Art Gallery, Ohlone College

April
3rd – Spring Open House and Student Art Exhibit & Sale
8th – The Crucible Collection Benefit Art Auction: Champagne Toast and Silent Auction at The Oakland Museum of California

May
6th – Aquatic Fire Opera Fundraiser
15th, 22-23rd – The Crucible participates in ArtSFest 2004

July
7-11th – 4th Annual Fire Arts Festival

September
25-26th – 4th Annual Mad Scientist Surplus Sale/Fall Open House & Fix-A-Thon

October
9th – Crucible Special Events: A Trip to Oliver Ranch, Alexander Valley
15th – Crucible on TV: KQED Spark: The Art of Interpretation

December
•  The Crucible featured in Oakland Magazine “47 Reasons We Love Oakland”

18-19th – 2nd Annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House

 

2005

February
26th – The “Mother of All” Premiere Party

March
12th – Firestoker Party (Volunteer Party)

April
9-10th – 6th Annual Spring Open House and Student/Faculty Art Show & Sale

July
12-17th – 5th Annual Fire Arts Festival

September
17-18th 5th Annual Mad Scientist Surplus Sale/Fall Open House & Fix-A-Thon

December
10-11th – 3rd Annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House

 

2006

January
• Youth Fired Up Program launched

11-14th – The Crucible’s 7th Anniversary Fire Opera: The Seven Deadly Sins

April
7-9th – 7th Annual Spring Open House & Student Art Show

May
• The Crucible Reverses the Meter with Solar Energy (The Crucible installs a solar panel system)

July
2nd – The Crucible featured in the New York Times “Playing with fire”
12-15th – 6th Annual Fire Arts Festival

September
9-10th – Annual Mad Scientist Surplus Sale/Fall Open House & Fix-A-Thon

December
16-17th – 4th Annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House

 

2007

January
10-13th and 17-20th  – The Crucible’s 8th Anniversary Fire Ballet: Romeo & Juliet

April
13th – Industrial Chic: Fashion and Art Show
14-15th – Spring Open House & Fashion Exhibition with Rusty Elephant Sale

July
11-14th – 7th Annual Fire Arts Festival: featuring The Fire Odyssey

August
• The Crucible’s Die-sel Moto is featured in Popular Science Magazine “The BioDiesel Bullet”

September
3rd – Die-sel Moto sets a new diesel motorcycle land speed world record at 130.614 MPH.
8th – Annual Fall Community Open House

December
15-16th – 5th Annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House

 

2008

January
17-19th – The Crucible’s 9th Anniversary Fashion Show: Hot Couture

April
9-12th – The Crucible’s Benefit Fire Ballet: Firebird “L’oiseau de feu”

July
•  The Crucible participates as the Artist-in-Residence at the DeYoung Museum
•  The Crucible participates in the Grand Opening of the Chihuly Exhibit at the DeYoung Museum
•  The Crucible featured in Oakland Magazine “Four Days of Fire”

9-12th – 8th Annual Fire Arts Festival

September
• The Crucible featured in Fine Arts Magazine “Chihuly Opening Weekend”

6th – Annual Fall Community Open House & Student Art Show

December
13-14th – 6th Annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House

 

2009

January
7-10 and 14-17 – The Crucible’s 10th Anniversary Fire Ballet: Dracul: The Prince of Fire

April
18th – Annual Spring Open House

July
15-18th – 9th Annual Fire Arts Festival

August
•  The Crucible hosts the Annual Enamellist Society Conference

September
12th – Annual Fall Community Open House & Student Art Show

December
19-20th – 7th Annual Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House

2010

July
July 15 — 11th Annual Fire & Light Soirée

July 16-17 — Heat: A Fire Cabaret

2011

January 11-12 — The Crucible Revival – performance retrospective

July 15-16 — Inferno: A Fire Circus

2012

Coming Soon

2013

March 15–May 5 — Artifact: The Crucible at the Asian Art Museum

April 27 — 8th Annual Fire & Light Soirée

May 10 — Fireside Lounge: Creation

June 1-2, 8-9 — East Bay Open Studios – The Crucible participates for the first time