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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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“People, Places + Pop” a Polaroid exhibit by Steve Hanson

Steve Hanson has bedecked the walls of Practical Art in fun and unique polaroids for his featured show, People, Places + Pop. Visit PA throughout the month of September to glimpse his creative genius on display, and take a polaroid for yourself!

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It’s an unfortunate truth that polaroid pictures are a dying pastime. The digital world has virtually extinguished the use of polaroid film– but it’s not because we’ve stopped taking pictures. In fact,  it
has been estimated that more photographs are taken each year than the entire history of analogue photography! We are constantly uploading them to our computers, phones, and social media sites, but we rarely print them and hold them in our hands. We are working to change that this month at Practical Art! As Steve says, “In many ways the Polaroid format offers us the best of both the old and the new, the nostalgia of having printed photographs and the instant gratification of getting a result right away. Polaroids allow us to capture that magical moment on the spot and get a touchable photo. Each Polaroid becomes a unique, one-of-a-kind physical photograph.”

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Truer words could not be said about Steve’ photos, currently hanging at Practical Art. His images are one-of-a-kind physical snapshots of memorable moments. They are life on display. Come by today to see his work and take part in the movement to bring back polaroid photos by snapping your own unique piece of art! We can’t wait to see you there!

Artist Reception:
Third Friday, September 16th, from 6-9
Exhibition:
September 1-30

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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)!
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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:
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“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.”

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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!

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“Hare” works by Christy Puetz

“The rabbits mingled naturally. They did not talk for talking’s sake, in the artificial manner that human beings – and sometimes even their dogs and cats – do. But this did not mean that they were not communicating; merely that they were not communicating by talking.”

Richard Adams, Watership Down

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Rabbits. Rabbits will indeed communicate with you this month, if you come by Practical Art to view our latest show, “Hare.” Christy Puetz has out done herself with her whimsical and thought-provoking sculptures. Her rabbits will make you laugh, make you ask questions, make you frown, make you smile– her rabbits will make you feel.

Inspired by the rabbits of Watership Down, Christy has built her works using fiber art covered in combinations of tactile materials, like glass beads and repurposed or up-cycled items. The decorative outer layer represents a unique ‘skin,’ the pattern of which tells (or emphasizes) the story of the piece.  Christy explains her methods, saying, “I use absurdity, beauty, and humor to comment on issues in a way that makes difficult subjects more approachable– issues like how the history of disease has shaped the world, how humans affect animal habitat, and the mysteries of human behavior.”

To find out more about her art, we asked Christy to answer a few questions about the show. Here is what she had to say:

What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

I, first, envision the storyline for each piece and how the pose should look.  Then I create the pattern for forms, and hand construct them.  Last, I complete the glass bead embroidery (each bead is sewn on a few at a time).

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What inspired your work for the show?

I have wanted to do a show of all rabbits for a long time– their ears and symbolism intrigue me.  I was also inspired by the novel by Richard Adams, titled Watership Down, and the animate film by the same name.  I really wanted to capture particular emotions in both the pose and the bead pattern for each piece.

What is your favorite part about making art?

Making art is like mind yoga to me, it is an outlet for my energy.  I have so many ideas, the slow and repetitive process helps me to relax.  

Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

I have two:  Dandelion and Irma.  Dandelion was the first of the series, finishing this piece inspired me to do more.  Irma was inspired by a friend that continues to influence my life.

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If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

tactile, sentimental, symbolic, humorous, beautiful

 

Meet Christy’s rabbits throughout the month of August, here at Practical Art. Come by this Friday night, August 5th from 7:00-9:00 for a special artist’s reception, and meet Christy for yourself. We can’t wait to see you there!


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“Support: something that holds up structure” works by Molly Koehn

Beginning July 1st, Practical Art will feature the amazing work of local artist, Molly Koehn. Come by and explore the relationship between humans and nature in her show, “Support: something that holds up structure.” Attend our Artist’s reception on Friday, July 1st, from 7:00-9:00pm, and meet the artist herself!

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We asked Molly to give us some insider information about her pieces, and she was happy to give oblige:

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  1. What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

Many of my pieces use a process called eco-printing. It is a natural dye process that uses leaves to create a print on the fabric. The leaves are bundled up in fabric and steamed for an hour. The color from the leaves transfers to the fabric. I also use embroidery, weaving, and drawing.

  1. Is there a theme to your show? If so, what is it?

This work is looking at natural systems and the role humans play in those systems. These pieces are also looking at the idea of support. In these systems, is nature supporting us or are we supporting nature? And I definitely acknowledge that we are part of nature, but I think in general, humans separate themselves from nature.

  1. What inspired your work for the show?

Moving to the valley 2 years ago has been a huge inspiration. The greater metropolitan area is just so bizarre to me in how different it is from the desert surrounding. Arizona in general amazes me. Down here there’s cactus and shrubs everywhere, but up north it’s all pine trees and snow! I love the diversity of climates and vegetation. I see something new and interesting almost everyday. I could probably live here for the rest of my life and stay consistently amazed.  

  1. What is your favorite part about making art?

That’s a tough question. I love the general process of making—using my hands to create. I just love working hard and getting dirty.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

I’m partial to my maggot embroideries. There is something so satisfying about the play between something gross and beautiful at the same time.

  1. If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

Maggots, leaves, landscape, support, systems.  

  1. What other artists (any local?) inspire you?

I find a lot of inspiration from land artists, specifically Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt. I’m also the biggest Patricia Sannit fan in the world.

  1. What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist?

I’m awesome.

We can’t wait to see you at Practical Art on First Friday, and throughout the month of July!

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PRIDE a Photography Group Show

Practical Art is immensely excited to host this month’s featured wall show, Pride. The show will be up throughout the month of June and features youth inspired, and created, photography. Sponsored in partnership with one•n•ten and Valley Leadership, Class 37 (which I am a proud member!), this show highlights the power of self-expression. I invite you to join us for a special Artists’ reception on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 from 6-8pm.

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Over the last 3 months, through the collaboration of Valley Leadership and One-n-Ten– an organization empowering LGBTQ youth throughout the Valley– I have helped lead a group of youth in an exploration of photography. With the guidance of Valley Leadership participants, (Alex Sachs, Ben Cilek, Bobbi Lancaster, Chuck Coolidge, Koran Hardimon, Stacy Sullivan, and Tracy Guerra) and with the support of local professional photographers, Heather Kirchhofer and myself, these students participated in classes focused on developing the photographic techniques of focus, composition, lighting, and more. Using their newfound skills, these youths utilized their camera lenses to investigate, dissect, and ultimately construct a visual interpretation of Pride—a theme of their choosing. The photographs they have produced are raw, insightful, inspired, and completely student driven. Chloe Koebel related that, my favorite part so far has been the freedom to choose how you interpret the theme you are given. Everything is up to you, from the theme to the frames to the photos themselves!”

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I encourage you to Visit Practical Art throughout the month of June to view the works of these young artists. During the reception you will be able to meet the artists, mingle with representatives from Valley Leadership, One-n-Ten, and Practical Art, and enjoy delicious food from Paz Cantina’s Food Truck! It is sure to be an evening of great artwork, delicious edibles, and invigorating conversation. I can’t wait to see you there!

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Opening Reception:
Wednesday June 1st, from 6-8
Exhibition:
June 1-30

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