I should have shared this post on National Pi Day, but I didn’t get it together in time for that. Maybe next year I will have a pi/pie related story prepared for March 14. In the meantime, enjoy this pie related story today.
NOLAgirl and I starting making plans to attend pie night a month before it happened.
She was in Phoenix, and I was house and cat sitting in Murphys, CA. She must have mentioned pie night to me, and I was all in! Pie. Pie is delicious. I love pie.
Pie night is held at a store called Practical Art, located at 5070 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix, AZ. Here’s what Practical Art’s website has to say for itself:
Practical Art is a friendly retail and gallery space featuring 100% locally-made wares in wood, fiber, ceramic, glass, metal, and up-cycled materials. All of our work is produced by Arizona artisans—we have over 100 of them producing work for you. We carry art that is practical in some way—everything from kitchen tools to home and office items, soap, clothing, furniture, jewelry, and more.
Pie night is more accurately Charity Pie Night. The Charity Pie Night page on the Practical Art website says the monthly event has raised over $34,000 since 2011. Past beneficiaries of charity pie nights include Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Center for the Arts, Area Agency on Aging, Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, Rising Youth Theatre, and the Animal Defense League of Arizona. The night in December when NOLAgirl and I attended, the beneficiary was the Art Resource Center.
According to their Facebook page,
The Art Resource Center is a non-profit corporation 501(C)(3) whose objectives are to collect reusable discards from individuals and industries and offer them free of charge to schools and other non-profit entities for the purpose of making art.
The Art Resource Center’s website elaborates,
By recycling art worthy materials for creative minds, THE ARC is filling the ever widening funding gap of nonprofits by providing quality materials to continue the passion we call ART.
The Art Resource Center is a wonderful project that I can get behind 100%. However, on that December night, my prime objective was PIE!
NOLAgirl and I arrived right on time, plates in hand. (To make Charity Pie Night more environmentally friendly, Practical Art encourages people to bring plates from home or buy reusable plates in the store. Reusable plates were provided to folks who hadn’t brought their own plate and didn’t want to buy one, but the plates provided were SMALL! I was glad to have brought my own slightly larger plate.)
Here’s how it worked: $5 got a person a slice of pie; $10 got a person unlimited slices. Anyone who knows me (and my love of pie and love of a bargain) will not be surprised to find out I had budgeted $10 for all the pie I could eat.
NOLAgirl and I lined up and waited our turn to step up to the pie table.
The pies were made by Vonceil’s Pies, owned by Karen Olson. The pie company’s Facebook page says,
Vonceil’s Pies is my dream in the making…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.
There must have been a dozen different pies on the table, and they were being served up by friendly young women wearing cute aprons. There were vegan pies made with no animal products. There were traditional pies made with whatever traditional pies are made of. There were berry pies and fruit pies. There were pies containing chocolate and pies containing chocolate and peanut butter and pies containing alcohol. One of the pies had a crust made from crushed nuts, which made it gluten free. How would we ever decide what varieties to choose?
It seemed like bad form to say Give me one of each! and besides, I don’t think I could have fit a dozen slices of pie on my medium-sized plate. NOLAgirl and I each chose four flavors to sample, then went and found a place to sit in the back of the store.
Wow! That pie was good. I wish I had noted which flavors I tried, but alas, I did not. In any case, every type of pie I tried was delicious.
After we finished our first round of slices, NOLAgirl and I walked around the store and looked at all the cool items for sale.
“The Big Robot Show” by Jordan-Alexander Thomas was in progress at Practical Art during Charity Pie Night. According to the information on the Practical Art website,
In “The Big Robot Show” local mixed-media artist, Jordan-Alexander Thomas exhibits his inventive and sometimes curiously odd robots and sci-fi creations on a grand scale. Using wood and up-cycled found objects, Thomas transforms these findings into whimsical and entertaining creations that are constructed to excite the imagination. Thomas began creating robot sculptures when his passion for indie handmade objects collided with his love of all things science fiction.
The robot and sci-fi creations were wonderful! I loved them but didn’t take any photos. Luckily, you can see some of them on them on Thomas’ website. Really, it’s worth clicking on the link and having a look!
After we looked at everything in the store, NOLAgirl and I shyly asked one another if we wanted more pie. As a matter of fact we did, thank you very much.
We got back in line and patiently waited to get up to the pie table. The pies were dwindling by this point, but we were both able to get slices of four pie varieties we hadn’t tried in the first round. They too were divine.
Once we finished our second helpings of pie, our bellies were full, and we were all sugared up. It wasn’t an entirely unpleasant feeling, but maybe I don’t need to eat eight pieces (even eight small pieces) of pie in one night.
For folks visiting Phoenix, I highly recommend a stop at Practical Art. For folks who like pie, if you can time it right, you really should make your visit there coincide with Charity Pie Night.