Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — This fall, one of the freshmen starting at Stanford University will be Beatriz Cuevas, a 4.0+ student and longtime student and intern at The Crucible, an Oakland industrial arts center. Beatriz almost didn’t apply to Stanford, thinking it was so competitive that she would never be accepted. But at the last minute she decided to apply, and she got in. The admissions letter mentioned her “passion for industrial art” as one of the reasons she was chosen.
“The Crucible is part of the reason I will be at Stanford this fall. Industrial art set me apart from others because not many youth get to work with fire, metal, and glass! I was blessed with the opportunity to explore art at The Crucible,” says Beatriz.
Beatriz has been at The Crucible since the 8th grade, when her art and jewelry teacher recommended she try it, so she signed up for a blacksmithing course.
“Honestly, I did not even know what blacksmithing was because I had never been exposed to industrial art,” says Beatriz. “I was so afraid, but after the first day, I got more comfortable with the hammer, metal and fire.”
Over the next few years, Beatriz continued her industrial arts education with glass flameworking, TIG welding, art bike frame alteration, and jewelry classes. She has also been a teacher’s assistant for wire jewelry, jazzy clay jewelry, cartoneria (Mexican paper sculpture), and art bike frame alteration classes.
In addition to classes, Beatriz has worked on several Crucible projects and events. She helped create a pedal-powered bike organ to be featured on Design Squad Nation on PBS, working with two engineers to build the bike and helping with metal fabrication of the frame that would hold the organ.
She also participated twice in The Crucible’s Fuego! internship program. Last year, she interned in the glass flameworking class, helping set up materials and supervising students. This summer, she was a leader for other interns, facilitating leadership bonding activities and helping out anywhere that needed an extra set of hands.
The communication and public speaking skills Beatriz learned through her internship helped her when she had the opportunity to speak in front of 300 attendees at The Crucible’s 2010 Fire & Light Soirée and Art Auction.
“I was happy to be able to share with others about all that The Crucible has done for me,” she reflected. “People got to hear my story about the importance of The Crucible in my life.”
Beatriz says she has gained many skills from her time at The Crucible, including self-confidence, critical thinking, creativity, working with children, communication, leadership, and seeing the world from an artist’s perspective. She says these skills will help her overcome obstacles and succeed at Stanford.
“After taking classes at The Crucible, I became better at understanding what objects were made of. I was able to see the medium used and the work that went into making something. I think that this transfers into understanding a topic in school and understanding why something is the way it is. I have learned to think critically,” Beatriz says.
Beatriz plans to major in Biology or Human Biology and minor in Creative Writing, or possibly Art or Art History. One day, she plans to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. She plans to continue working with The Crucible on her summer breaks.
“I want to give back and inspire other youth to become young artisans because art is so much fun, especially when art and fire are combined,” she says.
Her time at The Crucible convinced Beatriz that an arts education is important for those planning to attend college.
“Getting into college these days is not all about academics. It’s about what you do in your community, what you are involved in, what your passions are, and who you are as a person,” Beatriz explains. “When you have a passion for something, good things will come along with it.”
For more information about The Crucible, call (510) 250-3687 or find them on the web at http://www.thecrucible.org.
About The Crucible The Crucible is an educational facility that offers Bay Area art classes in the fine and industrial arts to people at all skill levels and original Bay Area team building events. What started in 1999 in an empty 6,000 square-foot warehouse in Berkeley has now grown to a 56,000 square-foot building in the heart of West Oakland. They offer imaginative and constructive Bay Area kids’ activities.
The Crucible offers instruction in industrial and fine art for every level from beginning and intermediate to advanced levels in formats ranging from three-hour tasters to ten-week programs. Prices vary by course and duration. Class fees include tuition, studio fees, materials, tool access and safety training. There are no shopping lists for supplies or hidden costs.