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!



Charity Pie Night benefiting A New Leaf!

It’s finally feeling like fall- and there’s nothing better on a crisp fall evening, than a glorious piece of a Vonceil’s Pie! Well, nothing except multiple pieces and flavors of Vonceil’s pies, perhaps… Our baker extraordinaire, Karen Olson, is whipping up a series of mouth watering desserts for this month’s Charity Pie Night at Practical Art. Come by  Friday, November 17th, from 7:00-9:00pm to taste Karen’s delicious treats. All proceeds from this month’s pie night will benefit the local nonprofit, A New Leaf.


A New Leaf’s Mission is “Helping Families. Changing Lives. A New Leaf inspires and supports individuals and families in their journey to independence.” A New Leaf has more than 20 programs offering housing, counseling, child care, and social services to those in need. Through their extended network they are able to serve 200,000 meals annually, provide 150,000 nights of shelter annually, and host 12,000 counseling sessions annually. Their services culminated in providing 21,140 individuals with critical resources last year!

We had a chance to visit their La Mesita housing complex, a beautiful development boasting modern, furnished apartments that supports homeless and low income family populations from around Maricopa county. Walking into the beautiful after school center, we watched young students picking out books from the reading corner, designing and decorating craft bird houses, and interacting with the friendly staff. The obvious benefits to the students are coupled with the fact that this service, free to resident parents, greatly helps alleviate the financial burden of finding affordable childcare. It was one powerful example of A New Leaf’s services in action.

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To hear more about the extensive depth and breadth of A New Leaf’s programs, come to Practical Art next week! Meet some of the amazing staff, enjoy some delicious Vonceil’s Pie, and get a head start on your holiday shopping (10% of sales that night also go to the charity)! 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.


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!


Great gifts under $20!


It’s the most wonderful time of the year—as Andy Williams aptly crooned! Twinkling lights deck our houses, ornaments adorn our trees, and hot cocoa fills our mugs and our bellies.  The holiday season is in full swing, and at Practical Art, we are working to make the festivities even sweeter. Check out these awesome one-of-a-kind gift items, sure to please everyone on your list, all priced at $20 or less!


Looking to share a little piece of Arizona with your loved ones?  Give them a bar of Silver Lining’s ARIZONA scented soaps. Our personal favorite is the Creosote soap. It smells just like the Arizona desert during a rainstorm!


Pair the Creosote soap with one of Marnie Brookins Cactus ornaments—a perfect memento to represent your local love.


Looking for a locally made gift to appease the little ones on your list? Keep them entertained for hours with our brain-bending tea off game by Tom Hewitt. It’s a classic they will keep and continue to play for years to come!


Bring the smell of Christmas to your hearth and home with the purchase of a Standard Wax holiday candle. They come in the enticing scents of Spruce and Spice.


Create Christmas cheer with your hot beverage intake. Pour your hot cocoa, coffee, or tea into a Sheila Cavanagh festive holiday mug—or purchase one and spread that cheer to someone on your list!



Earrings make great gifts for friends and loved ones alike. John Ryszka and Kyllan Maney make wonderfully unique pieces for a price that can’t be beaten.


Drinking enough water is crucial when living in the Arizona desert. That’s why we think our Mason Jar Tumbler’s make a perfect gift item!


Writers and journal lovers alike will enjoy expounding upon their ideas in our beautiful hand-crafted journals. Step up your gift game by pairing them with a unique wood-turned pen.


Heading to a holiday party? Looking for a unique gift item for the host? Ray DelMuro’s self-feeding wine bottle planters fit the bill perfectly!

Stop by Practical Art to pick up these unique gift items and more! We are your one stop-shop for local, hand-crafted gifts made by Arizona artisans. And don’t forget to take advantage of our free holiday gift-wrapping services. We can’t wait to see you!



Practical Art’s 2015 Holiday Extravaganza!

Twas the month before Christmas and all through the great metropolitan of Phoenix, not a creature wanted to miss out on Practical Art’s HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA!! Don your favorite holiday sweater and join us at Practical Art this Friday, December 4, 2015,from 6:00pm-10:00pm.


Only at Practical Art will you get to make ROBOT ORNAMENTS with our local robot expert, Jordan Alexander Thomas. Then watch live as December’s featured wall artist, Jesse Perry, demonstrates how he creates his painted street art. Listen to carolers sing your favorite holiday tunes as you munch on delectable holiday treats. Browse through the work of Practical Art’s 130 artists and peruse Bunky Boutique’s ‘Pop-up-shop’ to find the perfect one-of-a-kind gifts for every person on your list. Document all of your merry-making with our polaroid camera photo ops!  And when you work up an appetite after participating in all of these festivities, you can scrumptious tacos from Paz Cantina’s (one of our favorites!).



Still looking for more local love? Walk from Practical Art over to Crafeteria to explore even more local art and shops. Bring your friends, your spouse, your grandparents, your kids, your neighbors– everyone! This Friday will be a night to remember and we can’t wait to see you there!


Photo Story: Studio visit with Marnie Brookins

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Thanksgiving is a time to be… well… thankful! Here at Practical Art, we are thankful for the amazing and unique artists we work with everyday, the fun and functional artwork that decorates our store, home, and office spaces,  the wonderful employees and community members who support our shop, all things local, recycling, Vonceil’s Pies… and as we reach for the holiday decorations in preparation for the upcoming season, we are especially thankful for the amazing Marnie Brookins! Marnie’s handmade glass ornaments not only add a festive touch to the Christmas tree, they also  reflect beautifully when strung up in a window– making them the perfect ornaments for all holidays and seasons!

We love Marnie’s colorful, fun, and festive glasswork– and have a particular affinity for her gorgeous star ornaments. We visited Marnie in her studio, where she gave us an intimate look into the process of making these fabulous pieces. Marnie carefully cuts the glass, choosing the colors that she wants to blend together, and arranging the pieces to melt together. She uses a dedicated glass kiln to fire the ornament, and once it has cooled sands it smooth. She finishes the star by wrapping beautiful copper wire around the center– creating a unique blend of mediums and allowing for the hook by which to hang this wonderful stained glass piece.

Marnie’s ornaments add beauty and fun to any holiday decor. Come by the store and pick one up or find them now on our NEW ONLINE SHOP!

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