Blog O’ Gratitude: This THANK YOU is for you.

I caught a look on Lisa’s face a few times during the 5 Year Anniversary Celebration this weekend, and I knew just what it was about ’cause I was feeling it too: Gratitude.

If you came by, you saw (and were part of) the convergence of so many different aspects of what has brought our shop through its FIVE FULL YEARS of existence, and we want to acknowledge some folks who helped this weekend with big ol’ sappy public THANK YOUs.


The party pretty much started with Friday’s “A Share of the Pie: Charity Night.”  Karen Olson of Vonceil’s Pies (and Lisa’s sister), is the master pie maker and deserves a huge thank you for baking a dozen pies to help raise money for the Barrow Neurological Foundation‘s research on ALS. (She deserves additional thanks for so much else: bringing snacks to the shop (often from Urban Beans!), helping us cover shifts, volunteering as support crew for events and festivals, being a great customer!, and lending a solid perspective in conversations about moving the business forward. THANK YOU, KAREN!)

Karen, photos by Patrick Madigan

Next on the scene were muralist Kelly Driscoll and Screenprinter Ron Foligno of Ghosticorn Apparel. Friday night during pie social, Kelly laid out a grid of thousands of dots that was the framework for the mural she painstakingly applied to the front face of the shop over the course of the entire weekend. This past week, Ron was busy taking that same design and printing dozens of super soft, super stylish t-shirts for our supporters to wear out n’ about on the town ($15!)! And the designs on the new sandwich boards, in the mural, and on the t-shirt that describe everything we’re about?  ART, local, handmade and ARIZONA?! The final designs were worked up by Lisa’s hubby, graphic designer Brad Towsley (who also deserves additional thanks for help with all of our web graphics, shop game-planning, and emotional support!).  THANKS KELLY, RON, and BRAD!


And yes! We had the foods and the drinks out in local stylee! And, we ask you, what pairs better with freshly tapped Four Peaks SunBru than artisan-gussied hotdogs? Having teamed up with us in the past for our Tipsy Tuesday event, Short Leash Hot Dogs said they couldn’t miss the big bash even though they’re in the throes of opening up their FIRST BIG N’ BAD BRICK N’ MORTAR! We’re very, very grateful they took that afternoon out of what is surly a manic schedule to celebrate with us and make available our fave food truck sustenance: Lisa orders the Lady, and I get the Bear. (…I’m personally also grateful that they chose to open up their new rooted locale at my home-base light rail stop. Woot! #DailyDog…) THANKS TO BRAD, KAT, HAVEN, CHRISTINA AND THE REST OF THE SHORT LEASH FAMILY! Keep us posted on your Grand Opening!


And contributing the lovely, lilting, and lyrical audio ambiance was local singer/songwriter Sarah Vanell. Her covers were fresh renditions, and the breadth and depth of her repertoire allowed for us to make requests! I heard me some Jann Arden! What the whaaat?! She has albums of original work available for download, and if you would like to catch her LIVE, she performs regularly at one of the Olson family’s favorite haunts: Vincitorio’s! THANK YOU, SARAH!


It was a jam-packed weekend, so of course… there’s more. We also had four previous exhibitors step up to help us launch our first ever Art Raffle! We wanted to create an opportunity to make amazing, original art EVEN MORE ACCESSIBLE as a thank you to our customers! Strong, Innovative, Original art for $10 when it’s valued at $1700?! Could it be possible!? Here were the four pieces raffled off:


And the winners are:

“Routed Transmission” by Christine Cassano goes to STEVE HANSON!
“Earth & Sun” by Andrew Seiferth goes to KELLY DRISCOLL!
“Sunset Four Peaks” by Brad Armstrong goes to BOB YOHO!
“Northern Light” by Terry Pisel goes to PAMELA PISEL!

Congratulations!!! And, for working with us on this contest a BIG THANKS TO ARTISTS BRAD, CHRISTINE, TERRY, AND ANDREW!

And finally, there are two very special groups that are the cornerstones of this here arts biz, the two groups that connect through this humble hub and thusly imbue us with our purpose: the Practical Art crew of talented local artisans and the customers who love their work! To you, we give a THANK YOU big enough to rumble the rafters.

It was the first artisans, the initial plank-holders (Thanks for that word, Dan!), who believed in Jane’s vision of a viable art space and trusted her dedication to pairing their work with its audience, even in those early, fledgling days when mostly what we had was a passion and a plan. Each artisan that has joined the community since then has held that same belief in us and our mission; and we believe in them. We believe in them and the notion that their work, their creativity, their spirit, their flair, enriches the entire community. And we loved seeing so many of them over the course of this weekend! They even came in from Tucson, Payson, and Flagstaff!!! So to ALL 108 PRACTICAL ART ARTISANS THAAAAANNNK YOOOOUUU!!!


And the customers: there are customers who have been shopping with us all 5 Years, and there are new friends who’ve JUST discovered us but are already telling everyone they know, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother-in-laws-from-previous-marriages, EVERYONE, about us because they’re jazzed to know we exist. There are customers who were friends of Jane’s who still support her vision; there are customers who are friends of ours and know how much heart and soul we have invested here; there are customers who are friends of the artisans and have often witnessed first-hand what love and labor have gone into these artful wares; there are customers who live in the neighborhood and love supporting vibrant local variety; there are customers who simply stumbled upon us through other channels and love the visual art shows, the craft wares, our events, or something in the vibe that just resonates with ’em.  The entire Olson clan, our most-tasked helpers and best customers, puts family at our core. As well, many of our friends have become our customers, and frankly, many of our customers have become our friends! To help us celebrate, you brought yourselves (the best gift of all!), you brought wine, you brought cookies, cards, and flowers, and you shopped! And you think of us all year long for gifts and artful pick-me-ups. So, for all of the dollar support, all of the word-of-mouth-or-media promotional support, and all of the other ways you weigh in on our success…. to OUR CUSTOMERS, THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!


We simply can’t say it enough and I know we’re grateful every day. Grateful to Jane for seeing something in each of us in our first few days under her tutelage and mentorship, and grateful for every single iota of help, respect, and generosity we’ve been fortunate enough to encounter all along this great big five year journey. And beyond! Here’s to the next 5!

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(Post-script: Additional thank yous to The Windsor and Casey Moore‘s for hosting our motley crew for post-event libations; and thank you to the Downtown Devil, News Channel 10, and Phoenix New Times for putting the word out about the celebratory shenanigans!)


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