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.

novemberpienight

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.

14358721_10154522812923899_5165786646235101858_n 15000070_10154668372493899_8417439922611567830_o

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!

practical-art.com

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.

13407161_993511520702602_2005042121704068596_n

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.

maxlove

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!  

practical-art.com

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!

newlife1

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.

10482228_688593671178646_3916162527876166176_n

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!

May

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!

practical-art.com

Mother Dearest

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother”
-Edgar Allen Poe

May 8, 2016 is reserved especially to celebrate Mothers. At Practical Art, our Mothers– whether they are our biological Mothers, our Grandmothers, our Mothers-in-law, or our friends who are Mothers– have helped shape who we are. They mark our beginning. They mark the very best of ourselves. They mark who we choose to become.  We invite you to celebrate all of the Mothers in your life with one-of-a-kind gifts from Practical Art.

“I will look after you and I will look after anybody you say needs to be looked after, any way you say. I am here. I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother.”

―Maya Angelou, Mom & Me & Mom

Does your mother enjoy gardening? Browse our collection of planters, big and small, or peruse the bee habitats and hummingbird feeders that will encourage the helpful pollinators of her flowers.

garden

 

“My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.”

―Jodi Picoult

Does your mother have killer style? Search our vast collection of jewelry and find the perfect necklace or earrings to complement her inner fashionista. Or buy her a jewelry bowl to hold her growing collection.

jewelry

“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.”

―Gail Tsukiyama, Dreaming Water

Does your mother adorn her walls with fine art? Add to her collection with a beautifully handcrafted encaustic masterpiece by Lara Plecas. The colorful inspired work with surprise and enchant her.

Lara-mom

“Mothers, I believe, intoxicate us. We idolize them and take them for granted. We hate them and blame them and exalt them more thoroughly than anyone else in our lives. We sift through the evidence of their love, reassure ourselves of their affection and its biological genesis. We can steal and lie and leave and they will love us.”

―Megan Mayhew Bergman, Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories

Does your mother love to relax with a hot cup of tea? Snag her a-one-of-a-kind mug and a delicious blend of Wisdom Nectar Tea to brighten her morning routine.

tea&mugs

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”

―Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm

Does your mother host amazing parties and entertain guests? Find the perfect serving bowls and platters that highlight her unique style and favorite dishes. Or make hosting even more enjoyable by purchasing one of our fabulous Lazy Susans.  

serving

“Because even if the whole world was throwing rocks at you, if you had your mother at your back, you’d be okay. Some deep-rooted part of you would know you were loved. That you deserved to be loved.”

―Jojo Moyes, One Plus One

Does your mother love personal piece made by YOU? Come to Lara Plecas’s ice-dyeing workshop Saturday April 30th, and make your mother a personalized textile in colors and patterns of your own design! Find out more here.

Lara ice dying

Show your Mother how much you appreciate her by finding something as unique as she is. Whatever hobbies and interests she enjoys, we have a gift to suit. Practical Art is the perfect one stop shop for all of your Mother’s Day needs. We can’t wait to see you soon!

practical-art.com

 

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!

IMG_9129

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.

Phoenix-Zoo-34664

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.  

zoo1
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.

PhoenixZoo

practical-art.com

Practical Art is turning eight!

sunset

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

functionalart

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

PA Pie Social-73

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

parties

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

PA Pie Social-24

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

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.

ASA-shooflies_15

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.  

5125_24_569_0_05125_22_569_0_0

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.

90920c5a-9ee5-491a-b64a-a6e3860e433d

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!

practical-art.com