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!



Practical Art is turning eight!


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


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


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

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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

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!


October Charity Pie Night benefiting Rising Youth Theatre!


Here at Practical Art, we strongly believe in the transformative and community–building power of art. Hence, we strive to bring art into the everyday. Luckily, we are not alone in this mission. Organizations, such as Rising Youth Theatre work hard to bring incredible artistic experiences to the youth and the community— which is why we are excited to feature them this Friday from 7:00pm – 9:00pm during the most scrumptious night of the month, Charity Pie Night!


In an article from Edutopia, Fran Smith quotes a report by the Rand Corporation stating, “the intrinsic pleasures and stimulation of the art experience do more than sweeten an individual’s life — according to the report, they ‘can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing,’ creating the foundation to forge social bonds and community cohesion.” (Read the full article here)

This quote demonstrates the core of Rising Youth Theatre’s mission statement: to create youth driven theatre that is riveting and relevant, challenging audiences to hear new stories, start conversations and participate in their communities. Through participation on stage, behind the scenes, or in the audience, children, teens, and adults are exposed to innovative ways of thinking and asking questions about the world around us. The result is thoughtful, engaged citizens.

Karen Olson of Vonceil’s Pies will bring her own artistic creations to share, as we celebrate the work of this wonderful organization. Share in a slice, or try a sampling of each unique and delicious flavor as you discuss why the arts are so important to you. We can’t wait to see you there!

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A Share of the Pie: Charity Pie Night!
Friday, October 23rd, 2015 from 7pm-9pm
Featured charity: Rising Youth Theatre!

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 Rising Youth Theatre!



“Curious Oddities” by Jordan Alexander Thomas


Lean in my darlings, for with a flicker and a blink,
All is not what it seems…

Hidden within ordinary sight are extraordinary passages
Where the gears of time do not always wind forward.
There lies within these numinous objects of power
The crossroads of time and space.
Where the robot minds of tomorrow
Tinker with the wizards of yesteryear.
Where the planets and moons of faraway lands
Rest neatly in the palm of your hand.

We invite you to turn the brass knob.
Walk through the doorways of tomorrow, yesterday, and someday
To peer into the pockets of time, space, and curiosity.
Ashley Wood


“Curious Oddities” by Jordan Alexander Thomas
Exhibition: October 1-31
Reception for the Artist: First Friday Oct 2nd, from 7-9

Featured Item: Wooden(!?) Robot Box(?!)


handcrafted by Practical Art artisan Jordan Alexander Thomas!

Yeah, this robot, “Super Star”, is a crafty fella– don’t let his adorableness deceive you. NOT ONLY is he made completely out of wood, but… dun dun dunnnn….. he has a secret compartment! For what? Only you know, and that’s entirely the point.

He’s got details three-sixty, and charm galore. And, he needs to his Forever Home. ❤

PRICE: $125

Just, Just, Everyone.
(It’s a WOODEN ROBOT BOX, for cryin’ out loud!)



Practical Art’s HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE (Vol.1): Geek Love!

When we were growing up, we’d never have thought it possible that being SMART and being into things like comics, sci-fi, gizmos, and robots would be the “it” thing; that being a geek would someday be cool. (Despite Revenge of the Nerds, we had remained skeptical.)

But lo! The future has arrived and it is gloriously nerdy– so we KNOW you’ll be needing at least one of these gifts this holiday season (along with maybe somethin’ from our neighbors at All About Books & Comics?):


Vintage Camera Light by Chad Schimmel

Arcade-Inspired Cutting Board by Ryan Nelson

Glass Monster Lazy Susan by Marilyn Cohn


Wooden Robot Box by Jordan-Alexander Thomas


Ceramic Sci-Fi Plate by Tom Budzak

And there’s plenty more where that came from! More monsters, more ‘bots, more quirky characters and inventive gizmos! Swing on in and ask for more recommendations! And until then, live long and prosper!