Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — A diverse group of Bay Area youth are completing a unique summer teaching and learning experience as interns at The Crucible, West Oakland’s non-profit industrial arts and education warehouse space located on 7th Street.
Hailing from West Oakland, Richmond, Alameda, Lafayette and San Francisco, the interns are helping to teach classes in welding, jewelry making, glass blowing & flame working, and blacksmithing. While each has already learned to work in one of these areas, the internship places them in new roles, teaching other young people to create in these mediums. The Crucible often hires interns as teachers in their own right.
“This is about more than just creating with glass, metal and fire – these interns are learning deeper lessons about integrity, a sense of self, values, public speaking, conflict resolution and how to be a teacher and a leader,” said Stephanie Krause, a teacher at Oakland Tech high school who manages the program. “Many of these kids were exposed to The Crucible as students in one of our summer camps, or on a school field trip. Through that process, some of them emerge as candidates and we work to develop their potential,” she said.
Key Details FUEGO Internship Program: July 14 – 26, 2013 The Crucible 1260 7th Street @ Union, West Oakland
Photo opportunities at noon sharp on: Tuesday 7/23 (glass flame working) Wednesday 7/24 (blacksmithing) Thursday 7/25 (jewelry making) Friday 7/26 (glassblowing)
For 18 year-old Tiffany Sanders, a West Oakland resident, The Crucible began as a path to high-school graduation. “I’ve been involved in this program for two months. I started taking a class here in school to make up credits. After I got the credits and graduated, my teacher told me about The Crucible’s summer program, so now I’m an intern here… I’m using my skills, I’m doing something that’s meaningful and helpful to me, and I’m really enjoying what I do… I want to be a photographer, and after taking this program, it makes me want to be a photographer more.” She said.
16 year-old Abdullah Hamden, also from West Oakland said, “It’s inspired me to be to be a better artist by creating not just art itself, but tools, too. Last week, for instance, I made a piece; it was just an ornament, and I thought to myself, ‘If art could serve a better purpose, it would be a better art. If I could make this into a tool, it’d be better.’ So I made an ornament, but I added a tool to it – it serves a purpose now. While using the tool, you can also enjoy it.”
17 year-old Jazzy Schwinges-Williams from Alameda explains: “We had a neighbor who got my mom a job and told her about The Crucible, and ever since then, I’ve gotten a bunch of scholarships here. It’s the only outlet I’ve ever had for art, because we couldn’t afford any other camps or programs. It’s a really great place to be, and has inspired me greatly.”
18 year-old Gemma Baumer, of San Francisco, tells her story: “One area I’ve really grown in is reading students’ body language. You can tell when someone needs help. With glass blowing, there’s a lot of body awareness, and you’re carrying heavy things with molten hot glass on the bottom, so it’s pretty important that you don’t get in people’s way – and when you see someone standing there, swinging it around, you think ‘they need help’.”
Funding for the internships comes from CASS, a West Oakland metal recycling facility and manufacturer of aluminum ingot. “We are proud of our partnership with The Crucible and the opportunity to provide young people with exposure and access to a unique learning environment. We've made a commitment to support youth in the West Oakland community, and this is a fantastic opportunity for these kids,” said CASS CEO Edward Kangeter IV.
“Youth programs are a core part of The Crucible’s mission. Our internship program is not just about making art, it’s about developing leadership skills, professional development and helping these young people to build a portfolio of accomplishments they can point to as they build their lives,” said Crucible Youth Programs Director Carla Hall.