“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!


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
September 1-30




What’s that you say? Light Rail Pub Crawl?! I’M IN.


Each Third Friday, us gals here at Practical Art host a 5-7pm Happy Hour that gets us revved up for a night of art event hopscotching. In our attempts to entice you to join us — ’cause the more the merrier!– our happy hours have featured t-shirt giveaways, drinks, our winning personalities (hey, we think we’re fun), and the promise of an exciting Mystery Cultural Destination when we peel out for the Field Trip at 7p! This month, we’re doin’ it a little different, and embracing a definition of culture that encompasses a few more of our senses than just the visual.

That’s right, folks. IT’S A LIGHT RAIL PUB CRAWL!  (Just look at these beautiful blue dots.)

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 10.20.59 AMIt’ll be a car-free journey of sights, sounds, tastes, and shenanigans. We’ll visit one of the newest eateries on Central and one of the oldest; we’ll start uptown and head downtown; we’ll spend a small chunk of time at ARTELPHX — a collection of art installations scattered about the floors of The Clarendon Hotel; we’ll swing in and see our buds at Short Leash (and maybe grab a Bear for the road); and finally wind up at The Local, a fabulous bar/eatery where Practical Art provides an intense art infusion. HOW WILL WE DO IT ALL?! Ok, guys, to be fair… this is subject to change. I’ll list a *tentative* schedule below, but we may deviate from it dramatically. We’ll try not to, but we’ll be having a few drinks, so…. I suggest tuning into our Instagram (@practicalartphx) to see where we are during any given hour!

Here’s the tentative plan, and the corresponding light rail schedule:

Practical Art, 5-7pm — HAPPY HOUR(S)! — Drink #1
(Camelback/Central Lightrail at 7:27p to Indian School)

The Clever Koi — Drink #2
(About 8pm, walk to Clarendon for ARTELPHX… and Gallo Blanco!)

ARTELPHX — Drink #3  (Chips & Salsa maybe?) 
(About 9pm, walk to Osborn Lightrail for 9:32p ride to Thomas)

Durant’s — Drink #4
(About 10:15pm, walk to Thomas Lightrail for 10:34p ride to Roosevelt)

Short Leash — Drink #5 (Hotdogs or Fried Pickles maybe?) 
(Leave about 11:15 to walk to The Local)

The Local — Drink #6 (Dessert?!)

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 11.17.30 AM

And, finally, some Quick Tips for a Light Rail Pub Crawl?
Consider how you’re getting to and from!
Wear comfy shoes, there’s some walking!
Cash is king! It keeps us light n’ quick!
Be responsible– take food/water breaks when you need!
Uber, dudes, uber.

Yay! We’re already excited! Hope you join us!


Prosciutto, Fig, and Brie; Apple with a Gruyere Crust; and more: THE AMAZING PIES OF KAREN OLSON

As soon as the calendar ticks over to that third week of the month, I know that many of you begin salivating. And by Tuesday, there’s probably even a little drool on your pillow. Of course, I’m talking about those of you who have ventured over to Practical Art for our Third Friday Pie Social featuring the mouth-wateringly scrumptious, creatively-crusted creations of Karen Olson of Vonceil’s Pies.  (Yup, her last name should sound familiar– she’s Lisa’s sister!) For those of you who haven’t made it yet, have no fear! Friday night approacheth!

Whenever we mention our pie social, people are always like, “I don’t get it it. What do you do? Just… like… come and eat pie?”  We know. It DOES sound too good to be true; we’d be incredulous too. But it’s for realsies! Every Third Friday, come by the gallery from 7pm-9pm, and you’ll encounter a group of fun and friendly folks enjoying a sip from a wine glass and slivers of pies that have previously included Pear Cardamom, Peach Habanero, Blueberry Scotch, Strawberry Rhubarb, and, my personal favorite, Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie. (Honest to God, it takes me 30 minutes to eat even a small piece of this slice of heaven.)

The other question we get is, “Where do the pies come from?” And just as we have artist photo essays and interviews logged and in-process for our blog, we’ve chosen to highlight this artisan-of-the-rolling-pin for today’s post.

Meet Karen Olson. She makes each of the classic and adventurous baked goods listed above completely from scratch. Not only does she make and roll out her own crusts, but say you’re nibbling on a piece of Pumpkin Pie: Karen’s baked, scooped, and mashed AN ACTUAL WHOLE PUMPKIN. Mowing down a slice of Cherry? She’s PITTED FRESH CHERRIES; none of that ‘from-a-can’ crap. And when there isn’t a pressing need for a particular type of pie, Karen will head to the store either the day before, or morning of, and pick out the ripest, freshest, best produce for her pies.  Often, there’s no added sugar. When you have flavorful, quality ingredients, nature does most of the work for you; it’s then about recognizing great ingredients and highlighting those flavors, either in their pure forms, or with a complementary flavor pairing. Karen’s got her philosophies down pat.

“Vonceil’s Pies is my dream in the making. My name is Karen Olson and some day I hope that Vonceil’s will be my own store front bakery in which I can share the wonderful, crazy, beautiful world of homemade pie to the Arizona community.”

Currently, if you’d like to order a pie (or many pies), or book a class/pie-making-party, you can contact Karen directly at piemaker88@gmail.com or at 480-329-0301.  

Feel free to come by and taste test on Friday. Go ahead, have a little pie scouting session.  It’s fun, it’s free, it gets you out of the house and enjoying your community… It’s a social, fer-cryin’-out-loud– meet some people! We dig it when you bring your own funky plate, or even better, if you pick up an artisan-crafted plate on the spot, made by one of our 100 local artisans.

Once you become a fan (love at first bite), you can root for Vonceil’s Pies at the upcoming Roosevelt Row Pie Social… Karen’s competing for the first time! November 3rd!

See you Friday at 7pm!

Practical Art loves the Phoenix arts community.
Also this Friday night:
Steve Weiss“56 of 100: Candid Landscapes and the Arizona Centennial” at The Hive

Lara Plecas“Residual Energy” & Logan Bellew’sAngels v.2” at Eye Lounge

Kathryn Maxwell’s “Searching for the Center” at Five15

And this weekend (to be expounded upon in Friday’s blog post):
DON’T MISS!!  The Grand Avenue Festival and, in conjunction, Coffee Cookies & Crafts!