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The Crucible

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Education, Visual Arts

Mission: The Crucible, founded in 1999, is a nonprofit arts education organization that fosters collaboration of the 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 community through classes, workshops, lectures, gallery exhibits, community events, and special youth programs. Our goal is to become one of the premiere art centers in the country; where art thrives, is accessible, and inspires everyone in their everyday lives.  The Crucible was founded by a group of community artists, trades people and business leaders with a vision to make art accessible to everyone.  They saw a widening gap between the public and the arts, depriving the community of viable, fulfilling employment opportunities, compartmentalizing creativity, separating us from our rich and diverse cultural heritages, and reinforcing the idea that art and creativity have no application in our everyday lives. The Crucible helps to close this gap and open the mind to creative possibilities in a cross-cultural community setting. Our convergence of fine art and industrial artisanship makes The Crucible unique as a school, and a place brimming with innovative ideas, unusual community collaborations and creative experimentation. Hands-on creation, invigorated interactions, shared safety and problem-solving, skills mentorship - all of these widen the horizon of what’s possible.

Results: We offer over 500 classes & workshops each year.  Our youth and community program serves youngsters and their parents through field trips, after school and summer camps, workshops, bike programs, free tickets to events, and classes (apx. 50% of youth students receive scholarships).

Target demographics: Our students and volunteers range from 8 to over 80, and come from all socio-economic levels. Our community and youth programs focus on providing under-served kids within our West Oakland community the opportunity to learn and create.

Direct beneficiaries per year: nearly 5,000 adult students and over 2,000 youth directly benefit from our classes and programs

Geographic areas served: Greater SF Bay Area

Programs: In early 2003, we moved to our new home in West Oakland, which encompasses 47,000 square feet and is easily accessible by bus and BART. We offer over 200 low-cost classes and workshops a year with new courses in glass, machining, neon and kinetic art. We host a free lecture and gallery exhibit series, affordable studio space for local artists and artisans, custom fabrication services, and youth programs primarily serving under-privileged and at-risk kids. We host special hands-on open houses and field trips for area groups, as well as metals pours, fire performances and other community events. From cast iron to neon, and from large-scale public art to the most precise kinetic sculpture, The Crucible is fast becoming the best-equipped fine and industrial art facility on the West Coast with a unique concentration of industrial-strength equipment usable in both art as well as industrial applications. Our hands-on training curriculum is an alternative to standard expensive art school programs, and contributes to a local renaissance in traditional crafts. We provide workspace and a range of equipment otherwise unavailable in the Bay Area. These factors draw many practitioners of the fine arts, traditional crafts, and industrial trades to share their knowledge at The Crucible. We serve over 3,000 students per year. The Crucible's connection with industry is integral to our mission. We teach the metal fabrication, foundry, and production skills used both in manufacturing and in fine art. In doing so, The Crucible pays homage to the industries that built the Bay Area and re-energizes interest in disappearing crafts. In order to break down the barriers that often separate "the arts" from the larger community, The Crucible sees the need to bring art out into a public environment. We do this through collaborations with schools and local community-based organizations, gallery exhibitions, a free lecture series, and public events.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Attending open house, I was very impressed with the hands-on training being given in the use of all fire-related materials--including the less common, such as bending glass and creating neon signs and art work incorporating neon, jewelry and bronze casting--beautiful bells, with wonderful tone, ceramics, and of course the wonderful entertainment of fire dancing, the fire tornado and so much more. They also did a great job of repairing some silver dishes for me.


Board Member

Rating: 5

The Crucible is a dynamic, energizing and inclusive arts school where I learned how to harness my own creative energy. My first experience with The Crucible was in a welding class. The instructor was amazingly friendly and helpful, encouraging me to dive in to the class with excitement and enthusiasm. While there, I discovered that there are many exciting things to learn that I would have never had the opportunity to try without The Crucible. I went on to learn Blacksmithing, Metal Furniture Fabrication, Neon Sculpture, Glass Casting and even took a fire performance class called Fire Staff where I learned to spin a five feet long staff alight with fire on each end! While on my journey of learning, I got to know many of the faculty and staff who pour their souls into this organization. My involvement grew and eventually I became part of the Board of Directors. In my current role as Board President, I have had the opportunity to help this organization fulfill it's mission to provide inspiration and access to the arts to a wide variety of clients and audiences. I have also had the opportunity to grow as a person and to develop a deep sense of pride in my relationship to The Crucible and to all of the amazing people who make this organization and it's mission a vital part of the West oakland community and the wider community of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area.



Rating: 5

The Crucible is an amazing organization that provides facilities, education and a community for arts involving fire. The arts supported range from welding and blacksmithing to glass blowing and jewelry making - activities few of us can do at home. More importantly, the Crucible serves the West Oakland community in which it is located. Despite some recent gentrification, West Oakland is a neighborhood that struggles with many social ills including high rates of poverty and crime. The Crucible provides West Oakland youth with opportunities to master new skills and develop a sense of pride by building custom bicycles and participating in other youth programs. It periodically offers free bike repair, and lets West Oakland residents attend its amazing Fire Arts Festival free of charge.

4 HB


Rating: 5

The Crucible , like all great institutions, attracts the best people of their chosen field of practice to be there.



Rating: 5

The courses are great - I have taken several. The atmosphere at The Crucible building is amazing. The events are spectatcular.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love The Crucible for the diversity and commuity. It is an industrial arts hub, alive with constant creative activity and change. It provides wonderful opportunities for adults and youth to explore fire arts.


Client Served

Rating: 5

I first became aware of The Crucible's programs when i went as a spectator to their annual fundraiser, a production of Romeo & Juliet -- as a fire ballet. Astounded by the creative mixing of classical music, hip-hop, ballet, fire performance, glass and metal work, I vowed to learn more. A few months later, I attended their summer fundraising event, the Fire Arts Festival, and was again blown away by the ambitious production of The Odyssey and the array of art installations. When I found out that The Crucible was actually a school that taught skills in the fire and industrial arts, i was even more impressed: Clearly, this was an organization to get involved with --