The Crucible: Oakland’s Center For The Industrial Arts

Fire arts at The Crucible © Marcin Wichary/Flickr
Fire arts at The Crucible © Marcin Wichary/Flickr
Photo of Courtney Holcomb
29 August 2016

Oakland is home to The Crucible, a haven for artists, welders, and DIY-ers of all types. A non-profit arts education organization, the center strives to help the community thrive through arts and industry. Come explore The Crucible’s studios for a chance to take part in a unique variety of arts education programs or enjoy some avant-garde performances.

The Crucible | © Fabrice Florin/Flickr

The Crucible first opened in January 1999 as a warehouse in West Berkeley stretching over 6000 square feet. A grant of $1,750 made it possible for sculptor Michael Sturtz to start the organization, imagining an innovative hub for the industrial arts and education. The studio began with just 11 classes, and Sturtz taught seven of them himself. Sturtz wanted The Crucible to be a creative outlet accessible to everyone, promoting creative expression, reuse of materials, and innovative design.

Fire Arts Festival at The Crucible | © chris rosakranse/Flickr

Throughout the years, The Crucible has grown to expand that goal, developing an official 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.” A wide community has rallied around the studio, drawing donors, foundations, and volunteers to help The Crucible grow to become the largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the United States. Every year that community grows, spreading creativity throughout more of the Bay Area through hands on creation.

Crucible Machinery | © Fabrice Florin/Flickr

Today, the studio is home to a variety of adult classes, youth programs, and other events. Adults can experiment with a variety of industrial arts in classes like Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Enameling, Fire & Performance, Glass Blowing, Neon & Light, and Stone Working. Youth programs are available in a variety of forms, including spring break programs, summer camps, workshops, and field trips. There are also studio spaces through several means. One of The Crucible’s programs is called CREATE, or The Crucible’s Expanded Access to Tools & Equipment, which allows current and past students to use the studio space, tools and equipment to work on personal projects. The Studio Access Labs also available for visitors to work on blacksmithing, ceramics, glass fusing, glass flameworking, machine shop, or neon projects. Finally, studio spaces available for rental, as well.

Youth classes | © Fabrice Florin/Flickr

Come visit The Crucible to take part in one of its legendary events, sign up for a class, or take a free tour. Tours are offered every Tuesday night at 6PM in addition to the first and third Saturday of every month at 3PM.

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