An impressive roster of local and international artists will fill the Scottsdale Waterfront with visual and performance art inspired by the marriage of water and light during the fifth iteration of Canal Convergence.
Presented by Scottsdale Public Art, the four-day event promises a wealth of outdoor arts experiences, including live music, film, dance, poetry, and large-scale light-infused art installations.
Canal Convergence has its roots in an early 2013 mix of art and maintenance, created through a partnership between Scottsdale Public Art and Salt River Project (SRP). When SRP drained the Arizona Canal along the Scottsdale Waterfront for routine maintenance, Scottsdale Public Art treated the canal as a canvas and stage for visual and performance artists.
The idea stuck and since has grown significantly. What started as a two-day affair now spans four days, and the budget has grown from less than $100,000 to $270,000, says Donna Isaac, vice president and director for Scottsdale Public Art.
Planning for Canal Convergence 2017 started about 18 months ago, Isaac says. Installations began on Monday, February 13, and Phoenix artist Steve Yazzie, whose solo exhibition recently opened at the Heard Museum, followed the installation process. He's creating a film that’s being shown during the event.
“Canal Convergence turns the Scottsdale Waterfront into a palette for contemporary art installations and springboard for conversations about how we live in a desert environment,” Isaac says. But there’s something more.
“We hope people who come to Canal Convergence explore other parts of downtown Scottsdale,” she says. The Scottsdale ArtWalk happens from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, for example. And the area is home to both Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.
With so much going on, we figured you could use a little help with making the most of it all.
There’s nothing wrong with simply showing up and taking it all in, but we’ve got the rundown on what’s happening when, in case you’re keen on planning ahead to be sure you hit all the high points. Start by marking your calendar for Thursday, February 23, through Sunday, February 26, when Canal Convergence 2017 takes place.
Location: Canal Convergence happens along the Scottsdale Waterfront, which runs on a diagonal along Scottsdale Road between East Camelback Road and Marshall Way. The Main Stage is situated on Soleri Plaza, near the intersection of Scottsdale and Camelback. Another event hub, the Marshall Bridge, is located near the intersection of Scottsdale and Marshall Way.
Getting Around: Parking is available on the street and in nearby public parking garages. Free Scottsdale Trolleys run every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Canal Convergence Shuttles run every 20 minutes from 4 p.m. to midnight, during the event.
Hours: Canal Convergence takes place from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, February 23, through Sunday, February 26. So basically, you can lose yourself in art for a full 24 hours over the course of four days.
Cost: Most Canal Convergence offerings are free, with a few noteworthy exceptions. Bring money for food and drinks, of course. But be prepared as well to pay for artist talks happening at Casablanca Roof Top Lounge, which cost $10 each at the door.
VIP Preview Party: You can attend a VIP Preview Party with Canal Convergence artists from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22, at the Casablanca Roof Top Lounge. Tickets are $125, and proceeds benefit Scottsdale Public Art programming.
Food: Look for the Two Brothers Beer & Wine Garden on the Soleri Plaza, which will be open daily during Canal Convergence from 5 to 10 p.m. On Thursday, they will have food only. But Friday through Sunday, they will also have beer and wine available for purchase. Several eateries and bars are located within walking distance of the Scottsdale Waterfront.
Art Installations: Find art installations, including several with interactive components, located along the Scottsdale Waterfront throughout Canal Convergence. Here's a rundown.
Polygonum 2.0 by Tom Dekyvere
Large geometric rhizome inspired by unexpected bonds between technology and the natural world, created with more than 13,000 feet of rope along with reflective triangles.
Les Luminéoles and Lentille d’eau by Porté par la vent
Helium-lit kites that simulate an aerial ballet and 50 luminous spheres with radiating colors placed atop the Arizona Canal.
Los Trompos by Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena
Ten brightly colored spinning tops made from fabric woven in the style of traditional Mexican artists, which also function as seating areas and social gathering spaces.
IMPULSE Creation and production byLateral Office and CS Design, Production: Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, Montreal, Canada, Executive Producer: CREOS
Fifteen large-scale, illuminated seesaws that create a playground of movement and light.
Blumen Lumen by Foldhaus Artist Collective
Seven large-scale origami flowers that bloom and glow in different colors as people move around them, which premièred during the Burning Man Festival in 2013.
HYBYCOZO by Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu
Three LED-lit 7-foot-tall polyhedron sculptures inspired by ancient Islamic tiles, natural forms, mathematics, and geometry.
Moonflower by Lee Yun Qin
Arrangement of iridescent flowers created with plastic netting, glow-in-the-dark paint, and LED lighting.
Canal Creatures: Where Are They Now? by Isaac Caruso and Ashley Macias
Mural art featuring imaginary canal creatures live-painted during Canal Convergence along a portion of the canal bank.
Artist Talks: A total of seven artist talks are happening at the Casablanca Roof Top Lounge. Tickets are $10 per artist talk, and you can get your tickets at the Lounge before each event. Here’s what you need to know about who is talking about their work, and when.
Lee Yun Qin (Moonflower)
5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 23
Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena (Los Trompos)
7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 23
Pascal Rioult (RIOULT Dance NY)
5:30 p.m. on Friday, February 24
Anne-Marie Paquette (CS Design)
7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 24
Yelena Filipchuk (HYBYCOZO)
7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 25
Tom Dekyvere (Polygonum 2.0)
5:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 26
Foldhaus Artist Collective (Blumen Lumen)
7:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 26
Artist Workshops and Demonstrations: Scottsdale Public Art is hosting two artist workshops, two free and one ticketed, during Canal Convergence – plus presenting circus-themed workshops and demonstrations with Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
Folding a Geometric Flower Workshop
What: Learn to make an LED-lit, folded geometric flower inspired by Blumen Lumen.
Hosted by: Joerg Student and Jimmy Chion of Folkhaus Artist Collective
When: Daily from 4 to 6 p.m. during Canal Convergence
Light and Shadow
What: Learn to make a geometric work of art inspired by HYBYCOZO.
Hosted by: Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu
When: Daily from 4 to 6 p.m. during Canal Convergence
Cost: $20 tickets available at Scottsdale Public Art table
What: See Samuel Peña perform work created with an iPad, then join others on stage to create music and perform with fellow participants.
Hosted by: Samuel Peña of AZ Beat Lab
When: Saturday, February 25, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
The 7 Fingers, a Montreal-based circus troupe, presents its free Circus Skills Workshop from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, and Friday, February 24. From 5 to 5:45 p.m. those same days, the troupe is holding a free Demonstration and Discussion. To see more of the 7 Fingers, get tickets to their Saturday, February 25, or Sunday, February 26, performance at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
Film Screenings: Free film screenings happen from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the Soleri Plaza at Scottsdale Waterfront.
The Making of Canal Convergence 2017
See the 6 p.m. première of this short film commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art. Created by Phoenix artist Steve Yazzie and Digital Preserve, it follows the installation process of this year’s Canal Convergence artworks.
See the World, Feed Your Mind: Animated Shorts
See 13 short films, most of them nonverbal, presented by Scottsdale Public Art with the Scottsdale International Film Festival. Films were made in several different countries, including Argentina, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and Russia, to name a few.
Live Performance: Free live performances include music, dance, and poetry readings. Here's the main stage schedule.
Thursday, February 23: Inspiración Flamenco (9 to 10 p.m.)
Friday, February 24: Sid Hausman (6:15 to 7 p.m.), Lonna Kelley (7:15 to 8 p.m.), and Whiskey’s Quicker (8:30 to 10 p.m.)
Saturday, February 25: There is Danger (6:30 to 7:30 p.m.) and Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta (9 to 10 p.m.)
Sunday, February 26: Japhy’s Descent (7:30 to 8:30 p.m.) and Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra (9 to 10 p.m.)
Along the Canal, a Dance Among the Art
Saturday, February 25, from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
Four dancers from RIOULT Dance NY perform a site-specific piece on both sides of the canal, leading viewers from the Blumen Lumen art installation to the Soleri Plaza as they perform.
Four Chambers Poetry Reading
Sunday, February 26, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Local poets who responded to an open call through Phoenix-based Four Chambers Press will read original poems, each inspired by a different Canal Convergence 2017 art installation, on the Soleri Plaza. Participating poets are Eloisa Amezcua, Sally Ball, Alicia Brall, Giancarlo Huapaya, Amy Lerman, Leah Marché, Dustin Pearson, and Michelle Salcido.
Other Happenings: Canal Convergence also includes several additional activities, including mural painting with local artists and a group bike ride.
Mobile Karaoke Unit
Sing your heart out with a mobile karaoke unit along the Scottsdale Waterfront between 7 and 10 p.m. on Friday, February 24.
Artists at Work
Join Isaac Caruso and Ashley Macias in live painting their Canal Canal Creatures installation from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, at the Marshall Way Underpass.
Walk on the Wild Side: An Evening with the Museum of Walking
Walk with the Museum of Walking and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 26.
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Night Lights Bike Ride
Decorate your bicycle with lights and join in a leisurely six-mile bike ride starting at Soleri Plaza at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 26. Scottsdale Public Art will have a limited number of lights to share with riders who don’t have their own.
Look for the Store, a satellite of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts gift shop, which is open from 4 to 10 p.m. every day during Canal Convergence, on the south bank of the canal.
Canal Convergence takes place Thursday, February 23, through Sunday, February 26. Find complete details on free and ticketed events on the Scottsdale Public Art website.