Canal Convergence 2016 Brings Visual and Performance Art to Scottsdale Waterfront

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Everybody needs a good art binge now and then, and it’s about time to rev up for the next one. It’s Canal Convergence 2016, taking place Thursday, February 25, to Sunday, February 28, in downtown Scottsdale.

During 29 hours over the course of four days, Scottsdale Public Art will transform the Scottsdale Waterfront into a playground of visual and performance art complete with hands-on activities, ways to interact with artists, and food and drink. Here's everything you need to know. 

A couple of events are ticketed, but most are free. And we’ve got the rundown by category so you know where to find your favorites – whether you’re into visual art, dance, music, storytelling or film. And we’ve scoped out the culinary options, too.

Hours: Canal Convergence runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, February 25 and 26; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, February 26; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 28.

Visual Art: Installations by more than 10 artists will be placed at various locations along the Scottsdale Waterfront – and you can check them out anytime during the event. Here's what to look for:

Blooms by Bruce Munro
Check out British artist Bruce Munro’s light-based installation comprising seven circular platforms, rimmed by multi-color fishing rods threaded with optical fiber, which are floated atop the canal – and have very different effects by day and night.

Spiraling Droplets by Aphidoidea
Look for this installation by the Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary collective Aphidoidea, comprising 30 illuminated floating buoys spanning a space of 600 feet atop the Arizona Canal between Marshall Way Bridge and Goldwater Boulevard.

Light Origami by KAZ Shirane
Enter this interactive, human-sized telescope complete with dome featuring 300 mirror panels. The structure reflects both light and form, as well as sound composed by Inga Liljestrom, so everyone who walks inside alters the visual and sound experience that’s created.

MICRO – Double Helix by Purring Tiger
Explore 200 suspended balls quipped with lights and speakers that react when touched, in this installation created by artists Aaron Sherwood and Kiori Kawai of the installation/performance group Purring Tiger.

Billboard Mindscape by Edina “Mosstika” Tokodi
Hit this mixed media installation that blends living materials and graphic elements to create a living billboard meant to break down barriers between private art and public space, organic and inorganic elements of the urban landscape, and between nature and art.

Highway Hotshop by Joshua Dopp
Witness molten glass taking shape as artist Joshua Dopp works his glass-making craft using the mobile glass-blowing studio he calls The Phoenix. During the course of Canal Convergence, he’ll create a piece titled Color Shift Balance.

a river’s passing, 1 by Perry Allen
See Perry Allen’s cinematic portrait of the Valley’s extensive canal systems, created by combining personal footage of water systems collected during hikes with archival media of water traveling from its origins to the metropolis.

Your Secret is Safe with Me by Christopher Jagmin
Form bonds of trust as you swap secrets with a stranger inside a space created by Christopher Jagmin, thus revisiting the wonder and enchantment of innocent secrets shared during childhood.

Design Republic Mobile Studio with Lindsay Kinkade
Look for street mandalas created by Lindsay Kinkade along Scottsdale Waterfront paths.

True Local Time by Amy Sansbury Manning
Stand at the center of Amy Sansbury Manning’s life-size sundial, which uses a map of the Valley to reveal the exact time for its Canal Convergence location.

Autumn Spring Pavillion: Desert Series by Joy Holland
Look for colorful cubes you can reconfigure in all sorts of ways, even using them to create seats when you want a bit of down time from festival frivolity.

Meet the Artists: You’ll find all the artists by their installations on Saturday, February 27, from noon to 1 p.m., so pop over to see your favorites — and feel free to ask them all those burning questions you have about their work.

There’s also a ticketed event, An Evening With Bruce Munro, taking place 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 25. You’ll need cocktail attire for this one, which takes place at Casablanca Lounge on the Scottsdale Waterfront. Tickets are $100, and proceeds benefit Scottsdale Public Art programming. They’re available on the Canal Convergence website or by calling 480-499-8587.

Hands-on Art Workshops: Try any or all of three workshops being offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 27, and Sunday, February 28. Your choices include making origami cranes, stencils, and sundials. Or you can buy your own Spiraling Droplets kit and assemble it there with assistance from Scottsdale Public Art staff and volunteers.

Music: You’ll find music on the main stage during all four days of Canal Convergence – and a mobile karaoke unit making the rounds from 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27. It’s a pretty diverse line-up of performers – including Kuchen Quartet, Captain Squeegee, Decker, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, Spooky Kool, and many more. Main stage musical performances are scheduled for Thursday 6 to 8:30 p.m., Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday 1:30 to 10 p.m., and Sunday 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. Fair warning: That last main stage hour on Sunday features a “surprise musical performance.”

Dance: You’ve got a couple dance options this time around, including watching dance and participating in dance.

New York-based RIOULT Dance NY presents a performance choreographed specifically for Canal Convergence from 6 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 27. Two dancers will begin on the north side of the canal, using Joy Holland’s cubed sculptures to move across the Soleri Bridge before concluding their dance as the sun sets at the Soleri Plaza.

Connecticut-based Pilobolus presents family dance workshops for people of all ages and abilities, in which Pilobolus teaching artists help participants explore the dance collective’s unique approach to collective creativity as they create and perform a collaborative dance work. Those workshops happen 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, February 27 and 28. Since space is limited you should RSVP on the Canal Convergence website.

Storytelling: Scottsdale Public Art and New Times present Stories With a Splash: A Birthday Party in celebration of Scottsdale Public Art’s 30th anniversary. Katherine Stewart serves as master of ceremonies for an evening of storytelling featuring Elizabeth Maria Naranjo, Sara Palmer, Robrt Pela, Amy Silverman, and R. Bradley Snyder. Tickets are $15, and available on the Canal Convergence website. One lucky winner of the Scottsdale Public Art selfie competition will snag two tickets to the event, and two tickets for drinks at the festival’s beer and wine garden.

More Things to Do: The Community Canal Path Bike Ride kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 27. Join fellow cyclists at the Soleri Bridge to take a guided tour of local arts and culture before heading back to the Scottsdale Waterfront for more Canal Convergence art adventures.

The Community Plein Air and Sketch n’ Snap Session happens between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 28. Join fellow painters, sketchers and photographers for a bit of creative time on viewing decks around the Scottsdale Waterfront. BYO canvas, sketchpads, and other supplies.

Civic-minded types can watch Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane present a proclamation celebrating Scottsdale Public Art on the main stage at Soleri Plaza at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 26.

Film buffs can find a series of short films from the Scottsdale International Film Festival being shown 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Soleri Plaza.

Shoppers can explore The Store @ The Canal for works of art, functional artworks, books featuring Bruce Munro’s work, and more.

There’s even a beer, food and wine garden to quench your thirst from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27.

But hey, after all that your best option is simply this: Show up Thursday night, get your own Canal Convergence schedule, point yourself towards a cool piece of art, and just let the rest of the weekend unfold.

Canal Convergence takes place Thursday, February 25 to Sunday, February 28. Find complete details on free and ticketed events on the Canal Convergence website.

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