See What Fuego Youth Leaders Gained for Life

by Natasha von Kaenel

Our 2017 Fuego Youth Leaders had a great summer, shadowing instructors, working as teaching assistants, visiting local industrial arts studios, and making final projects in their disciplines! For many of these students, mentorship through the Fuego Youth Leadership Program helped them feel more comfortable expressing their ideas, developing their expertise, and learning how to share it with the next generation. Skills they can now build on for the rest of their lives! See what our graduates have to say about their two summers creating in the industrial arts, then check out our first year Fuego Leaders completed projects below.

In order to participate in the Fuego Youth Leadership Program, students must have completed at least three Crucible classes and be recommended by Crucible faculty or staff. Each Fuego student is paired with an experienced faculty instructor for two summers, with the goal of developing career skills, establishing rewarding relationships with mentors, and becoming leaders. Fuego positions are paid and participants work as summer camp teaching assistants, provide industrial arts demonstrations onsite and at Oakland festivals and cultural events, and mentor younger students.

GRADUATED FUEGO LEADERS

fuego youth leaders

Anona Gupta
Fuego Leader in Foundry

Anona Gupta, age 18, is currently attending University of California, San Diego, studying Cognitive Science and Machine Learning. For her final project, she made a bronze sculpture of a crashing wave, using the lost wax casting technique. “My first class here was life changing because it introduced me to a world of industrial art that I truly see myself continuing in for the rest of my life,” she says. “I realized that I never wanted to stop working on projects and creating art.”

fuego youth leaders

Brian Berryhill
Fuego Leader in Bike Shop and Welding

Brian Berryhill, age 17, is homeschooled and in his junior year. He was a Fuego leader in the Bike Shop, helping kids make art bikes during Summer Camp. His final project was inspired by the eagle on the one dollar bill. “The skills I have learned here are going help me a lot in the future, not necessarily in my career, but definitely will use them in my side projects in years to come,” he says.

fuego youth leaders

Jorge Renderos
Fuego Leader in Bike Shop and Welding

Over the last four years, Jorge Renderos has taken over 20 classes at The Crucible in seven different departments, benefiting from the support of our Youth Scholarship Program. While most of our Fuego students start their final project at the beginning of the summer, Jorge has been dreaming up his human-sized bird sculpture for the last two years. Now that the bird is finally complete and Jorge has graduated from our Fuego Youth Leadership Program, he says the whole experience helped him develop his public speaking and teaching skills. “The Crucible has helped me to improve greatly and overcome obstacles I’ve faced in the years I’ve been here.”

fuego youth leaders

Om Aranda-Stinnett
Fuego Leader in Glass Blowing

Om Aranda-Stinnett, age 17, was a Fuego Leader in the Glass Blowing Department. He was excited about starting the program because, “I knew it was an opportunity to give back to the community and learn something about myself.” For his final project, Om spent his time perfecting the art of making broccoli in glass. “I am a firm believer in eating good, organic, and fresh produce whenever possible,” Om says. Capturing the unique texture of broccoli in glass was more difficult than one might think, and Om recycled many glass pieces back until he finally captured what he was looking for.

fuego youth leaders

Reginae Hightower
Fuego Leader in Jewelry

Reginae Hightower has been part of The Crucible since 2007, when she started taking classes in our Jewelry Department. Since then she has taken over 35 classes in every Department, benefiting from support from our Scholarship Program. Reginae has graduated from our Fuego Youth Leadership Program, but she says, “I don’t really see myself leaving the Crucible. Although be attending college, I’ll always find a way to come back and participate in any way possible.”

fuego youth leaders

Sharee Roberts
Fuego Leader in Ceramics and Glass Fusing & Slumping

Sharee Roberts, age 16, has taken seven different youth classes at The Crucible, benefiting from support from our Scholarship Program. For her final project, Sharee was inspired by the different green colors of glass that reminded her of turtle shells and visits to the zoo. She made a glass turtle in Glass Fusing & Slumping, and sculpture of tree in Ceramics.

fuego youth leaders

Timofey Pulko
Fuego Leader in Glass Flameworking

Timofey Pulko, age 17, has taken thirteen classes at The Crucible in seven different departments. He was first exposed to The Crucible via his mother, Natalia Pulko, who teaches in the Leather, Textiles, and Fine Arts Department, as well as the Enameling Department.

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FIRST YEAR FUEGO LEADERS

fuego youth leaders

Sabrina Brickner
Fuego Leader in Glass Flameworking

Final project: Flameworked glass puppet

We can each see ourselves as the puppet, clear and fragile, relying on the strings that others pull to hold us up. But maybe we can also be the puppet master. We can be in control every once in awhile. We can have a voice. And this experience has helped me to find my voice, as both an individual and an artist.”

fuego youth leaders

Rakau “Rocky” Boikanyo
Fuego Leader in Welding

Final project: Kinetic arm

“Had it not been for my time spent at The Crucible I wouldn’t even consider making 3D sculptures, especially using metal of all things. I must say I’m thankful for this experience.”

fuego youth leaders

Maritza Bernal
Fuego Leader in Ceramics

Final project: Sculpture of Frida Kahlo

“As a woman, I think it’s really important to learn industrial arts skills and help develop self-confidence . . . I can’t wait to bring all the skills I learned to my school. The Crucible really helped me develop my knowledge and opened up a new path for me.”

fuego youth leaders

Alex Orcutt
Fuego Leader in Foundry

Final project: Aluminium casted rose

“The Crucible has been a great resource and a welcoming family. My mentor was able to help me grow as an artist and has just been amazing. Throughout this internship, I have grown my leadership abilities and come out of my shell.”

fuego youth leaders

Äden Jibril
Fuego Leader in Blacksmithing

Final project: Steel Garden Hoe with wood burned shaft

“My project is meant to be practical, but also is influenced by older Pre-Christian Germanic art and mythology, which is an interest of mine. This presents itself in the knot work and the runic inscription below it, which spells out the name of Freyr, the god associated with prosperity and plenty.”

fuego youth leaders

Johnathan Saul
Fuego Leader in Glass Blowing

Final project: Glass blown cup

“The Crucible offered this amazing opportunity to me. My mentors have really encouraged me to do this piece and have been really building up my confidence in presenting, socializing, and engagement.”

fuego youth leaders

Josie Lazalde
Fuego Leader in Bike Shop and Welding

Final project: Refurbishing mountain bike and road bike

“I have grown as a person from making sure I’m on time, that I have all my papers in order, and making sure kids are safe. I will use these skills in life and school.”

fuego youth leaders

Emily Henrich
Fuego Leader in Glass Blowing

Final project: “Floppy bowl”

“The Crucible and my mentors have encouraged me to be ambitious with my projects and create whatever calls to me, regardless of whether or not I have learned how to make it before . . . Because of the Fuego Program, I am no longer hesitant to offer advice when assisting the students.”

fuego youth leaders

Talia Grumet
Fuego Leader in Jewelry 

Final project: Necklace pendant and earrings

“The project I made for this program is inspired by the natural beauty seen outdoors. Representing these ideas are the silver flowers on the necklace pendant and earrings, as well as the texture of the copper plates that resemble wood.”

fuego youth leaders

Blake Carter
Fuego Leader in Bike Shop and Welding

Final project: Grasshopper

“The Fuego program seemed like a perfect opportunity to gain important and interesting knowledge that, quite simply, cannot be attained anywhere else at age 16.”

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2017-09-06T13:32:43+00:00