Charity Pie Night benefiting Max Love Project

PIE NIGHT IS BACK!!! Come by Practical Art Friday, September 23rd, and eat some delicious homemade pies from our favorite local baker, Karen Olson, of Vonciel’s Pies. Gluten free? Vegan? No problem! Karen whips up amazing pies for all diets! Relish in the fact that you’re not only eating delicious, locally made goods, but you are also supporting our featured non-profit, MaxLove Project.

Did you know that 95% of childhood cancer survivors will go on to face a serious chronic illness? MaxLove is working to alleviate the reality of this statistic. They are on a mission to improve the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors (aka SuperKids). The volunteer driven, grassroots organization offers programs and resources focused on ‘super actions’ that promote lifelong healthy survivorship and disease prevention. These programs include culinary medicine, social support, integrative medicine, research, and advocacy. It is a Whole Body, Whole Person approach to maintaining and supporting healthy lives.


MaxLove is teaming up to support the efforts of Dr. Adrienne Scheck. Dr. Scheck, working out of the Barrow Neurological Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, is behind the groundbreaking diet that’s helped MaxLove Project’s Chief Inspiration Officer, SuperMax, thrive against brain cancer. This ketogenic diet is a powerful and nontoxic therapeutic addition to conventional treatment. There is a lot of promise in this non-toxic approach, and our SuperMax provides a powerful case study for its efficacy. But there’s still a lot more science that needs to be done.

That’s where you come in. All of the money raised in this month’s Charity Pie night at Practical Art will help support Scheck Laboratory on behalf of MaxLove. For more information about how your dollars impact the lab, or how you can help even more, click here.


So come to Practical Art Friday, September 23rd, eat delicious pie and support MaxLove. A $5 donation gets you a slice of a Vonceil’s Pies creation! A $10 donation gets you as many in-house tastings as you’d like! All donations, and 10% of all sales that day, will be donated to MaxLove Project!

We can’t wait to see you there!


August Ice Cream Social to benefit ACEL Leaders!

There is nothing more refreshing than delicious, homemade ice cream on a hot night. Come to Practical Art this Friday and refresh yourself with a treat from one of our favorite local spots, Sweet Republic. These ice cream aficionados are sponsoring this month’s Charity Night in support of ACEL (Asian Corporate and Entrepreneur Leaders)!

ACEL’s mission is “to be the proving ground for Greater Phoenix Asian American Professionals, forging leaders of tomorrow through professional development, cultural awareness, community service and mentorship.” This is not a simple networking group. ACEL focuses on building and improving communities by mentoring and connecting leaders (young and old) with community organizations and needs. We spoke to member Kim Hamby, who provided the following testimonial:
“The first time I heard about ACEL was from a friend and business associate. He knew I wanted to get more involved in my local community and suggested checking it out.  It sounds corny, but although I had done some volunteering in the past and am a Phoenix Native, ACEL was what made me feel like I was a part of a bigger community.

ACEL’s Mentorship program, Leadership Conference and other events are unique and have positively impacted hundreds of people.  Jason Wong, founder and Board chair has been a great mentor for me and continues to pave the way for future growth. Through ACEL I have learned about opportunities to get involved through Valley Leadership, FBI Citizens Academy and other amazing non-profits. 

I would encourage anyone of any background to get involved with ACEL. If you care about personal and professional development and want to grow within our community by accessing amazing mentors and local leaders, this organization is for you.”


Come by Practical Art this Friday from 7:00-9:00 to learn more about ACEL and eat some sweet treats from Sweet Republic. We can’t wait to see you there!

July Ice Cream Social to benefit Valley Leadership!

Seek refuge from the heat this Friday night by heading to Practical Art! Our friends across the road, from Churn Ice Cream, are providing delightfully cool and sweet treats in honor of our featured nonprofit, Valley Leadership.


Valley Leadership (VL) is a 501c3 that is near and dear to my heart. As a Phoenix native and local entrepreneur, I knew that I wanted to learn and connect with other leaders around our great city. The more I heard about Valley Leadership, the Valley’s premier leadership organization, I knew that I had to apply. With determination, support, and perhaps a bit of luck, I was accepted into VL class 37.


The goal of VL is to identify and develop the next generation of leadership. The founders, working in the 1970s,”imagined an annual succession of education change agent dedicated to the best possible future for our region.” It is the belief of Valley Leadership that great change can only happen when leaders have a deep understanding of their community. As a newly graduated alumni, I can attest that VL does a wonderful job teaching participants about the needs of the region– and then exploring ways to be a leader for change. The culmination of this exploration is group projects designed to create future sustainability for Arizona. My own project focused on learning about the organization one n ten, and finding ways to help their mission to serve LGBTQ youth in the Valley.


Learn more about the VL projects, speak to members about their experiences, and support this unique organization–all while enjoying scrumptious ice cream from Churn! A $5 donation gets you a scoop of ice cream–a $10 donation gets you as many in-house tastings as you’d like. We can’t wait to see you there.

April Charity Pie Night benefiting The Phoenix Zoo!

Here at Practical Art, our mouths are watering as we gear up for next week’s Charity Pie Night. Yet it’s not just the thought of Vonceil’s Pies that has us excited. This month we are hosting Pie Night in support of the Phoenix Zoo– which means we get to spend the evening with some of their amazing critters. Last year we met Buttercup, the most adorable armadillo in Arizona. We can’t wait to see who we’ll get to meet next Friday!


Many people don’t know that the Phoenix Zoo is actually a 501c3, non-profit organization. In fact, it’s one of the largest not-for-profit zoos in the nation. They rely on the support of the community to fulfill their mission: to provide experiences that inspire people to care about the natural world. Earlier this week, we had the fantastic opportunity to chat with Bert Castro, President and CEO of the Phoenix Zoo. He gave us a bit of insight into this important community organization.


If you’ve been to the Phoenix Zoo lately, you were likely impressed with the beauty of their expansive grounds, the thoughtful layout of their animal homes and habitats, and the sheer number and scope of the creatures they care for. Housing more than 1,400 animals, including 30 species that are endangered or threatened, the Phoenix Zoo is an important center for nature conservation.

If you’ve walked along the paths, you may also have noticed their recycling efforts. Mr. Castro explained to us that energy efficiency and sustainability are important to the Phoenix Zoo’s mission. Recycling and composting campaigns are one way in which they promote a ‘greener’ Phoenix. However, they are also leading the way in sustainable efforts as they build and expand their site. The new Phoenix Zoo Administration building was awarded LEED Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council, scoring highly for optimal energy performance and onsite renewable energy (it’s solar powered!). As lovers of all things recycled (or up-cycled as we like to say), repurposed, reused, and sustainable, we were impressed!

A sustainable, energy efficient campus isn’t the only way the Phoenix Zoo positively impacts our community. They are also an important gathering space. The Zoo hosts special events, camps, and educational opportunities that support the sharing of ideas and resources.  You can join them April 17th for their annual Dia Del Nino, celebrating children, animals, and hispanic culture. Or head to the Zoo April 23rd for Earth Day and participate in hands-on activities that support reducing your carbon footprint. Keep your eyes peeled for walks and runs in honor of other local nonprofits– according to Mr. Castro, the Zoo hosts more than 35 charitable walks throughout the year! For details about events, and to see what’s upcoming, visit the Zoo’s online calendar.

As Phoenix natives, we have watched the Zoo expand and grow from our visits as kids to our visits with kids, and we wanted to know what we could look forward to in the future. Mr. Castro couldn’t give official details, but he did say that future plans for the Phoenix Zoo include intensive and immersive visitor experiences in which you feel you are with the animals….and a new indoor restaurant! We can’t wait!

Want to get more involved with the Phoenix Zoo? There are many ways you can support this local landmark. Help the animals and conservation efforts by making a donation. Volunteer at one of their awesome events. Or buy a membership and become part of the Phoenix Zoo family (we highly recommend it!). To get started off right, head to Practical Art next Friday, April 22 from 7:00-9:00p.m.  

As a community organization with a heart for all things local, Practical Art is extremely excited to partner with the Phoenix Zoo for Charity Pie Night. Come by. Eat delicious pie. Meet amazing animals. Buy local artwork. And donate to this Phoenix treasure.


February Charity Pie Night benefiting Arizona School for the Arts!

Arizona School for the Arts: Arts Education in Action

Every 4th Friday of the month, Practical Art hosts a Charity Pie Night. Pie night is your opportunity to eat the delicious, one-of-a-kind creations made by Karen Olson of Vonceil’s Pie, while learning about important non-profit agencies around Arizona! Next Friday, February 26, 2016, Practical Art is enthusiastically hosting this delicious event in honor of Arizona School for the Arts (ASA).

Arizona School for the Arts is a public charter school whose mission is to “inspire creative thinkers and leaders through providing an innovative concentration in college preparation informed by the performing arts.” ASA, offering grades 5-12, consistently ranks as one of the top academic schools in Arizona. If you are a numbers person, check out the following statistics:

  • 12th-National rank in Reading (Global Report Card 2011)
  • 22nd- National rank in Math (Global Report Card 2011)
  • 100% graduation rate
  • 96% of ASA graduates pursue four-year postsecondary education
  • Ranked 13th in the state of Arizona for combined SAT scores

We were both impressed and curious about how this school produces such amazing results, so we decided to check it out for ourselves. Last week, we took a tour of ASA, led by student ambassador, Kelly Dorney. A senior who has attended ASA since 6th grade, Ms. Dorney is a testament to the school’s mission in and of herself. Articulate, well-informed, and thoughtful, she graciously led us across the campus, answering all of our questions and offering her own insights into what makes the school one-of-a-kind.


After meeting Ms. Dorney, and development director, Marion Donaldson in the office, we cut across campus to see some of the student classrooms. Walking past the beautiful bandshell dominating the middle of the outside courtyard, we were serenaded by the sweet sound of a violin being played by orchestra performer, concertmaster, and ASA violin instructor, Dr. Sarah Schreffler. Instructors at ASA, in both the academic and arts sectors have significant experience in their fields and demonstrate passion in what they teach. Interestingly, vetting teachers often includes student input. Ms. Dorney explained that prospective teachers often present sample lessons to a group of current students, and student feedback plays a deciding factor in the hiring process. Over the course of our tour, we came to understand that student input, inclusion, creativity, and responsibility are common themes at ASA.

Entering the classroom buildings, we saw colorful bulletin boards throughout the hall. These boards bore encouraging words, announcements, and messages for students, from students. We traveled upstairs and toured the gorgeous dance studios, peered through windows at ongoing Physics and Social Studies lessons, listened in on French instruction, and interrupted the band teacher as he practiced in his classroom during a break from teaching. Ms. Dorney enlightened us as we went about the average day for a student. Core academic classes occur in the mornings, while performing arts happen after lunch. Students work in groups at tables, fostering collaboration. Classrooms are multi-use, and spaces utilized for history in the morning may be converted (sometimes with retractable walls) to orchestra rooms in the afternoon. In high school, students choose two arts to focus on– Ms. Dorney takes cello and piano.  


Perhaps one of the most fascinating classrooms that we walked into was a middle school piano class. Piano’s line the walls and cluster in the center of the room. Students play away, and yet the room is silent. They each wear headphones allowing them to focus on their own playing, with the capability to pair up and produce duets. The teacher also has headphones, and can tune into any student’s piano throughout the class. It is a unique opportunity for individualized instruction. To describe it in one word– awesome!

Students of all grades eat lunch at the same time, and Ms. Dorney regaled us with the story of how senior students came up and spoke to her encouragingly on her first day of 6th grade. No hazing, no bullying. “People don’t believe me when I tell them, but I have never seen bullying here,” she asserts. No bullying? How is this possible?

The Arts encourage creativity and individuality. In a school that fosters these traits, bullying has no place. Dorney reiterates that it is the creative community that allows for such acceptance. That, and school policies allowing for measures such as a gender neutral restroom.

As we completed our tour, I asked Ms. Dorney how the incorporation of the arts impacted her experience at ASA. Her answer, perfectly, focused on community. The incorporation of arts not only encourages community within the school, but also allows her to connect with the Phoenix arts community at large. The connection is one she plans to foster and continue in the future. Ms. Donaldson reiterated that many students from ASA come back to Phoenix and become community leaders and economic drivers encouraging positive change.

Here at Practical Art, we believe in the power of Art. Creative expression unites, inspires, empowers, and provokes. What we witnessed in the brief hour of our visit at ASA is a testament of the power of Art. The impressive students of ASA demonstrate everyday how Art, in various forms, critically engages individuals of all ages to develop and improve the community around them.


Visit us next Friday from 7:00-9:00pm, meet these amazing students, witness a few awe-inspiring student performances, eat pie (of course!), and support this amazing school. We can’t wait to see you there!

A Share of the Pie: Charity Pie Night!
Friday, February 26th, 2016 from 7pm-9pm

A $5 donation gets you a slice of a Vonceil’s Pies creation! A $10 donation gets you as many in-house tastings as you’d like! All donations, and 10% of all sales that day, will be donated to Rainbow Acres!

January Charity Pie Night benefiting Mountain Park Health Center!

Whether you are 6 or 60, your health is vital to maintaining your happiness and your way of life! That’s why Practical Art is excited to support Mountain Park Health Center at this month’s Charity Pie Night. Swing by tonight, from 7:00pm to 9:00, for a taste of delicious Vonceil’s Pie (vegan and gluten free options readily available) and donate to this important organization.

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Mountain Park Health Center is a non-profit healthcare community whose mission is to provide quality, affordable primary care to every one of their patients. The caring team of doctors, nurses, and practitioners offers health education, preventive screenings, and affordable medications to keep you proactive about your health. Mountain Park is dedicated to idea that everyone deserves excellent care at reasonable cost, and offers a wide array of financial options for every patient. With more than 30 years’ experience and 8 valley locations, Mountain Park Health Center is the one- stop medical center for your individual and family needs.

Learn more about the services of Mountain Park Health Center tonight at Practical Art. Dive into a piece of Mexican Chocolate, Lingonberry, or Jalapeno Pecan pie and revel in the fact that you are helping give back to the Arizona community with each bite!


A $5 donation gets you a slice of a Vonceil’s Pies creation! A $10 donation gets you as many in-house tastings as you’d like! All donations, and 10% of all sales that day, will be donated to Mountain Park Health Center!

December Charity Pie Night benefiting Rainbow Acres!


This Friday, join Practical Art for the best night of the month– Charity Pie Night! In this season of giving, we are honored to host Pie Night on behalf of the local nonprofit, Rainbow Acres.  Enjoy the delicious taste of a Vonceil’s Pie and support this unique local agency!


As a child and student, Rev. Ralph Showers struggled with learning disabilities, including dyslexia. He dreamed of a place where adults with disabilities could pursue their dreams and find purpose and meaning.  After becoming an accomplished American Baptist pastor, Showers pursued and attained this dream with the establishment of Rainbow Acres in 1974. In 1996, Rev. Gary Wagner accepted the role of President and CEO of Rainbow Acres, taking care to build on the philosophies and vision set forth by Rev. Showers.  As a result of their visionary leadership and their supportive team of caregivers and employees, today Rainbow Acres is a state of the art facility serving 130 adults with disabilities.

Rainbow Acres serves adult residents, called Ranchers, from the ages of 18 to 80. These individuals have a wide variety of cognitive and developmental disabilities including (but not limited to) Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome,  Fragile X, and Autism. These Ranchers live, work, and socialize in the supportive community of Rainbow Acres– a place they enthusiastically call home. As Rainbow Acres aptly proclaims, “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RANCHERS: providing opportunities for personal growth, offering them freedom of choice, empowering all to achieve personal goals, having friends who accept one another unconditionally (often for the first time in their lives), and discovering purpose in life.” The team at Rainbow, including the Ranchers themselves, work to build a one-of-a-kind home in which individuals are empowered to pursue their dreams.

Support the efforts of Rainbow Acres and eat delightful pie, this Friday night from 7:00pm-9:00pm at Practical Art. The proceeds of the night will be donated to Rainbow Acres in honor of Lorimer Olson (1934-2015), a crucial supporter and board member of Rainbow Acres, and the best grandpa in the world!


A Share of the Pie: Charity Pie Night!
Friday, December 18th, 2015 from 7pm-9pm
Featured charity: Rainbow Acres!

A $5 donation gets you a slice of a Vonceil’s Pies creation! A $10 donation gets you as many in-house tastings as you’d like! All donations, and 10% of all sales that day, will be donated to Rainbow Acres!