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 first opened its doors on January 15th, 1999, in a rented 6000 square foot warehouse in West Berkeley. Sculptor Michael Sturtz, leading a small group of dedicated cohorts, 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, 7 of them taught by Sturtz himself. Over the following years, with the generous support of donors, foundations, volunteers, and our members, The Crucible has thrived and 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 our First Fire Arts Festival (a one-day event in Berkeley)
• January 2000 – We launch our Youth Program with 5 classes
• April 2001 – Our first Student Art Show and Spring Open House
• September 2002 – Phoenix Fundraising Campaign launched to support move to new and larger facility
• March 2003 – We celebrate our grand reopening in our new Oakland facility with “Ignite!” Mayor Jerry Brown dedicates the building by breaking a flaming bottle of champagne over an anvil at this gala event