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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CANDLE MAKING with Standard Wax!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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I Love You Dad

Celebrate Father’s Day June 19th by finding a one-of-a-kind gift –perfect for dad– at Practical Art. Fathers, grandfathers, godfathers– they help mold our foundations– our selves. We learn who we are and who we want to become through the examples of our fathers. They deserve a day of honor, and Practical Art is looking forward to celebrating them next week!

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“Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.”

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

It’s only when you grow up and step back from him–or leave him for your own home– it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.

— Margaret Truman

 

“The monsters are gone.”

“Really?” Doubtful.

“I killed the monsters. That’s what fathers do.”

Fiona Wallace

 

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“To her, the name of father was another name for love.”

— Fanny Fern

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“[My father] didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

— Clarence B. Kelland

 

Come by Practical Art (or visit our online shop) to find something special just for dad. We can’t wait to see you there!

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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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May Charity Pie Night benefiting New Life Society!

Practical Art loves getting to know non-profit organizations whose work strengthens our community. New Life Society is an organization that, to put it simply, saves lives. Desiree Gracia, Executive Director, gave us great insight into her organization, and Practical Art is honored to host New Life Society for our May Charity Pie Night. Join us Friday, May 27, 2016 from 7:00-9:00pm, and enjoy a tasty slice of Vonciel’s Pies while you learn how to get involved with New Life Society and help save lives!

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At it’s core, New Life Society’s mission is to offer supportive services and financial support to recipients of organ donation.  “The New Life Society’s purpose is to provide pre- and post- transplant supportive services and to promote organ and tissue donor awareness education to all Arizona residents.”

Individuals in need of a new organ often struggle to make ends meet financially. Thus, New Life Society provides financial assistance to patients in need. Beyond financial support, New Life Society fosters support groups for organ recipients. Transplant recipients meet one-on-one, in small groups for dinner, and at large events to share their experience. They have created a continuum of support for individuals from the beginning phases of the organ donation spectrum to the end.

I was inspired as I learned about the incredible work of this non-profit agency. How had I not heard of them before? When I asked Desiree what her plans were for the future of the organization, she said that one of the biggest areas for growth was awareness. Educating the public about their presence and teaching people the differences between the myths of organ donation and the facts. “There are a lot of misconceptions about organ donation. A lot of individuals fear that if they are a donor, doctors and paramedics won’t do everything that they can to save their life. This is completely untrue.”

Desiree advises everyone to take the time to learn about organ donation, and make a decision for themselves whether or not to register as an organ donor. Once you are registered, talk to your family about your wishes, so that they know what to do on your behalf.

Desiree has personal experience with organ donation. Her little brother died tragically at the age of 14. Suddenly, her and her family were faced with the task of planning a memorial service, paying for a funeral, and dealing with the insurmountable grief that comes with losing a loved one unexpectedly. When the doctors and hospital staff asked if the family would be willing to donate her brother’s organ– they decided that it was what he would want them to do. Desiree began volunteering with donor agencies shortly after her experience, a decision that she says has helped her grieving process. She has never met the recipients of her brother’s organs, but every time she works with a donor recipient, she imagines they are carrying with them a little piece of her brother.

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You can help Desiree and her team at New Life Society support and spread the facts about organ donation. Volunteer your time, donate to the cause, or host an educational session at your work or affiliated organizations. Together we can help New Life Save Lives.

Start your advocacy at Practical Art this Friday from 7:00-9:00pm. Meet Desiree and her team, eat delicious pie, and shop at your favorite local spot. We can’t wait to see you there!

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A $5 donation gets you any slice of a Vonceil’s Pies creation. A $10 donation gets you as many in-house tastings as you’d like. 10% of all sales that day will also be donated to New Life Society!

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