Happy Thanksgiving from Practical Art

It is officially Thanksgiving! (How did that happen?)

We hope you have a safe and wonderful day celebrating all the things you are thankful for! Here at Practical Art, we are thankful for our amazing arts community, loyal customers, fantastic staff, and (if you don’t already fit into one of the previous categories) YOU!

Now, traditionally, the Friday after Thanksgiving is reserved for Big Box stores who promise incredible deals (coupled with overfilled parking-lots and ridiculously long lines– they don’t call it ‘black’ Friday for nothing). Here at Practical Art, however, we’ve never been big fans of the chaos, mayhem, and stress of Black Friday… but we do love celebrating the holiday season in our community. So, if you are looking for something to do this weekend other than standing in line at Best Buy or Walmart, come join us at one (or more) of the awesome local events listed below, or stop by the store any day this weekend from 10:00am-5:00pm. Help spread holiday cheer while you support local businesses around the Valley.

Friday, November 25: BLACK FRIDAY!

10am-7pm Practical Art’s Alternative Black Friday Celebration


Get in the festive spirit by making unique, handmade robot ornaments with our favorite Space Boy Robot (Jordan Thomas).
Click Here to RSVP!


10am-5pm Alternative Black Friday Market, CityScape, Phoenix

Spend the day perusing the wares of more than 30 Vintage and Local shops at the market, eat lunch at some of the best local Phoenix restaurants around, and cap it all off with a bit of ice-skating, just for fun!

Saturday, November 26: SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY


Whatever your plans, make sure you stop by your favorite local businesses to show your support and let them know how much you appreciate them! We will be open from 10-5 with lots of locally made wares & recommendations of other awesome shops for you to check out!

9am-1pm Gilbert Art Walk


With a forecast in the mid-70s, Saturday is the perfect day to head outside and stroll around the Gilbert Water Tower, checking out the vendors at both the Art Walk and Farmer’s Market!


10am-5pm Phoenix Flea, Heritage Square Park


Don’t miss the 4th annual Phoenix Flea! It’s sure to be the biggest market yet, with goods from more than 100 local artists and businesses!

Here at Practical Art, we can’t wait to see you out and about this weekend!



CANDLE MAKING with Standard Wax!


Practical Art is thrilled with the buzz and popularity surrounding our Make and Take summer classes. Our AZ community has seized the opportunity to learn from some of our favorite local artist and as a result have created some amazing, personalized ‘practical’ art. Next Saturday, July 30th, will be no different as Andrew King from Standard Wax leads a class in how to make your very own candles. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to partake in one of these unique class events, sign up today!


Standard Wax candles seize the subtle aromas of citrus and black currant, bergamot and basil, and whiskey and fig. King will instruct you in the fine art of scents and help you create your own unique blend. Once you have blended the perfect concoction, he will help you pour the wax for your own candle.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Decorate the ceramic vessel with your own designs to create a fun and functional piece of art for your office, bedroom, or living space.


There are only a handful of spots left for this fun class, so reserve your spot online or call the store today. We can’t wait to see you there!


Please welcome Janel Garza!

Come by Practical Art today and browse the amazing work of our newest local artist Janel Garza!


Genius Loci Jewelry is Janel’s line of wearable artistic creations, inspired by the Arizona desert. Genius Loci is latin for “the spirit or essence of a place.” As a Phoenix based artist, Janel employs simple, clean lines, color, and symmetry to evoke the beauty and balance of our arid landscape.

Methodologically, Janel uses a laser cutter to shape and etch designs into each piece. She then delicately hand paints every earring and pendant with carefully selected colors. The ear wires are individually formed and attached. The resulting work is 100% unique!


Genius Loci Jewelry provides beautiful, handcrafted artwork designed to amplify and accentuate any wardrobe. But don’t take our word for it– come and see for yourself! We can’t wait to see you soon.



Summer Art Classes!

“The arts…are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country


Grow your soul this summer by participating in one of Practical Art’s 8 artist led summer classes!


Did you know that art can relieve stress, enhance creativity, improve brain connectivity and plasticity, make children better students, ease the burden of chronic health conditions and dementia in patients, and increase empathy, tolerance and love? Whether you are 6 or 96, here at Practical Art, we know that everyone can benefit from practicing a little art– plus, it’s just downright fun! 

That’s why we are inviting you to come down to Practical Art throughout the summer to work with your favorite local artisans. Whether you are interested in designing jewelry, learning to sew, burning wood, or painting ceramics, we have the class for you!  Sign up for one or try them all. The unique creations you make will be yours for the taking. Every Saturday, starting July 9th, visit us from 2:00-4:00pm, get out of the sun, meet a new artist, and learn a new skill. We can’t wait to see you there.



For a full list of classes visit http://practical-art.com/artist-classes/. Sign up online, call us at 602-264-1414, or swing by the shop today!


Practical Art is turning eight!


Practical Art is turning eight!  Our little shop on Central has grown and matured in ways we never would have imagined– and it’s all a result of our hard-working staff, our imaginative and talented artists, and most importantly, you, our loyal customers. In honor of our 8th birthday, here are 8 fun facts about PA.  Did you know that…

  • Practical Art houses the work of more than 130 local artists

When Practical Art opened, we carried the functional, imaginative work of eight (fitting, right?) local artists. Over the past eight years, we have expanded our network of artists to more than 130– and we are still growing. We jury new artists into the store every month, which means you can always find something fresh and innovative on our shelves!  

  • Practical Art = Functional Art


At Practical Art we pride ourselves in finding art in the everyday– which is why we feature work that is beautiful, and usable! The truth is, it is more fun to drink your morning cup o’ joe from a Jillian Schimmel Arizona mug, roll out your favorite pie dough with a Paul Porter rolling pin, or sign your name with a hand-turned Richard Altenhofen pen.

Practical Art also features fine art in our monthly wall shows. Have you been by to see Lara Plecas’s encaustic pieces in her show, We Shall Be Free…”?

  • Practical Art believes in the power of recycling

Here at Practical Art, if you need something boxed or bagged, we are happy to oblige– but don’t be surprised if you walk out with a child’s birthday bag, or Tiffany & Co. box. All of our packaging comes from community donations. Next time you celebrate a birthday or go on a shopping trip, don’t throw your bags and boxes away! Bring them to Practical Art  and we will put them to re-use.

  • Practical Art supports local charities

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Last year, Practical Art raised more than $10,000 in support of 12 different local non-profits around the valley– and we are on pace to do even more this year! Our monthly Charity Pie Night highlights organizations around the state that are working hard to improve our community.

Our next Charity Pie Night happens April 22nd! Come by to hear about the great work of the Phoenix Zoo, meet some adorable critters, and eat delicious pie!

  • Practical Art loves local

At Practical Art we consider ourselves experts of all things local. Our staff is proud to direct you to other local shops and eateries around the Phoenix area, including Bunky Boutique, Frances, Changing Hands Bookstore, For the People (our new neighbors!), Windsor, Short Leash Hotdogs, or Southern Rail.  As proud members of Local First Arizona, we know that supporting local shops improves the economy in Phoenix.  At the national level, local businesses reinvest, on average, 64.8% back into their local community, as compared to 33.6% from national chains. At Practical Art, we know that our numbers are even higher. When you shop at our store, more than 70% will be reinvested back into our local community.

  • Practical Art offers workshops and classes led by our awesome artists


Practical Art conducts workshops and special events in which our customers get the chance to become the artist. Past workshops have included the opportunity to cut wine bottles with Ray Del Muro and turn them into vases, creating your own candle scent with Standard Wax, or paint pottery with Jillian Schimmel.

This month we have an Ice Dyeing workshop happening with Lara Plecas on April 30th (click here to find out more)!

Keep your eyes peeled for class schedules and workshop updates on our website and in our monthly newsletter– we have some exciting events planned for this summer!

  • We thrive on being eclectic

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We love the variety of sights, sounds, and smells that you will experience when you walk in our doors. Don’t be surprised if you are confronted by scent of creosote, care of Silver Lining Soaps, or bergamot from our Standard Wax candles.  We hope you relish in our recycled  and refurbished cases salvaged from other businesses, or the newly reinvented shelves and tables handcrafted by our artists. Enjoy the myriad of textures represented by our artists: feel the silky smooth glass constructed by Marnie Brookins, the grain of Greg Corman’s wooden vessels, or the soft cushion of Elsie Leutwyler’s nits. Experience something new with each visit, and know that each experience has been hand-crafted by local artists, just for you!

  • Conveniently shop Practical Art online

Live out of state? Moving out of town? Don’t have time to come down to the shop before your best friends wedding? No problem! You can still purchase one-of-a-kind, Practical Art pieces on our web-store. Find a great selection of your favorite artists work at www.practical-art.com. We are happy to ship (for FREE during the month of April)!

We want to send a huge THANK YOU to the local community who has continued to support our shop and the amazing artists that we represent. In honor of our wonderful customers, we’ve put together a birthday goodie bag– one that highlights the best of our shop!  Inside this ‘bag’ you will find Alex Ozer earrings, a Lisa Olson original photograph, Carolyn Camp’s Silver Lining soap, and more!

8yr raffle

How do you get your hands on this one-of-a-kind goodie bag!?! Purchase a raffle ticket online or come into Practical Art today and purchase a celebratory 8th birthday raffle ticket for $8.00. We will draw the winning name at the end of this month!
From the bottom of our hearts thank you for helping us build a beautiful space that supports local artists & the Phoenix community. We can’t wait to see you soon!

Lisa & the Practical Art team

Photo Story: Studio Visit with Aaron Voigt

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Rusty nuts and bolts and discolored shards of metal come alive in the skilled hands of Aaron Voigt. Voigt’s fanciful robot banks and pencil holders happily adorn the shelves of Practical Art, and bring cheer to our local shop.

At a very young age, Voigt began learning how to weld from his father. “My father welded his way around the world for the U.S. Army and brought his methods and experience back home to his family’s garage.” Their Father-son projects influenced Voigt as he began exploring his own artistic themes. He began putting his welding skills to great use.

Voigt creates his artwork from pieces of manufacturing machines, aircrafts, cars, household fixtures and any other industrial materials he can find. Taking care to sand, smooth, and connect these odds and ends, he designs art with personality. The history of the materials he uses play an integral part in each creation– every robot has a unique story to tell. The discarded, industrial materials have become charming, fun-loving characters ready to find their permanent home with you!




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Voigt learned his artistic and trade skills from his father, and other mentors. As a result, Voigt works hard to pass along his skills and knowledge to others. “We are here to share and learn. My skills came about through many mentors over the years. I can’t thank them enough for sharing their love. Keep your eyes and your hearts open.”


Visit Practical Art 7 days a week or check out our online shop, and take home your very own Aaron Voigt piece!


Practical Art’s continuing evolution & summer events


Practical Art welcomes you to the 2015 summer! One great way to enjoy the hot, carefree summer days is at your favorite independent art shop.  As we get ready for the summer, Practical Art is saying farewell to a long devoted friend and colleague, saying hello to two new inspiring partners in the arts, and is inviting YOU to join us as we celebrate art and purpose in Phoenix!

Kara Roschi, one of our original movers and shakers, is bidding us adieu. As a seven year veteran of our amazing store, words cannot express how much she has meant to the creation and sustainability of Practical Art. Jane Reddin saw the kindness, enthusiasm, and talent that Kara possesses—qualities we all love and admire. Kara has used her talents to the benefit of our art and artists.  She helped us develop the business practices that have sustained Practical Art.  We know she will continue to to support and create local art as she focuses on her master’s program at ASU and the other opportunities that spark her genius! Good luck, and best wishes, Kara!

As we bid farewell to Kara, we enthusiastically welcome two new (to Practical Art), intelligent, and artistic women to the store. These new partners will continue to inspire and expand our mission of bringing art to the everyday. Stop by the store and meet Andi Erickson. Andi, as an Art Historian and enthusiast, will help you choose your very own art essentials! Behind the scenes, Sophie May Hook will help Practical Art develop an even greater presence in the Phoenix arts scene. Sophie is an independent arts, events and project management consultant who is passionate about nurturing talent, cultivating diversity and providing access to the arts for all.  Sophie will help us find more ways to grow the art community of our beautiful city and make Practical Art an integral part of that community. Welcome to the team Andi and Sophie!

In addition to these exciting changes, we want to give you a sneak peek at some summer plans that we’re currently developing.  Soon, in addition to finding and enjoying wonderful, functional artwork every day of the week here at Practical Art, you will be able to make your own! This summer (along with our summer kids classes with the Bergamot Institute) we plan to offer one-of-a-kind art classes with some of our favorite local artists. Make candles with the scent experts from Standard Wax; break wine bottles with Ray Delmuro and Refresh Glass; squeeze some mugs with the creativity expert Jillian Schimmel; AND MUCH MORE. Whatever your creative interests, we will have a class for you. You choose the class, gather some friends to join in the fun, we will provide the location and supplies, and one of our artists will share their expertise. There is no better way to escape from the heat than by coming out to Practical Art, enjoying friends, learning something new, and walking home with your own unique artistic creation. Look for more details and information, including how to sign up, coming soon on this blog and on our website.

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Looking for other fun ways to support Phoenix? Practical Art has you covered! All summer long, join us in creating, supporting, and funding new initiatives that encourage Phoenix to recycle and reuse.  Sign up to receive our newsletter or check out our website to find out how you can help. We will also continue to share good fortune and good pie by hosting our Charity Pie Night every 4th Friday of the month. Enjoy mouth-watering masterpieces from Vonciel’s Pies while supporting local non-profit agencies around the valley. If you are looking for a place to escape the heat, enjoy one-of-a-kind handmade art, meet new and interesting people, and support Phoenix, Practical Art is the place to be. Thank you for your continued support of our shop and the 125 artists whose work continues to inspire us daily. We can’t wait to see you soon!