Canal Convergence returns this month, with a mix of in-person and virtual experiences designed to highlight the intersection of water, art, and light. It’s traditionally been anchored by art installations and events centered around the Scottsdale Waterfront, but this year’s lineup will look a bit different.
Scottsdale Public Art has made an effort to reduce crowd sizes and reflect the new realities of social distancing. Here’s a look at what to expect during Canal Convergence, which runs from Friday, November 6, to Sunday, November 15.
Location: Large-scale artworks will be installed throughout Old Town, rather than concentrated along the Arizona Canal and the Scottsdale Waterfront. Additional experiences will be available through streaming platforms and an augmented reality application developed for Canal Convergence 2020. Watch for QR codes on signs and ground stickers near various artworks.
Augmented Reality: Download the Hoverly app if you plan to view augmented reality experiences on the Canal Convergence channel. Using the app requires an augmented reality-capable device running iOS 13 (or later) or Android 7.0 (or later). The augmented reality lineup includes workshops, tours, holograms of artists talking about their work, and more.
Hours: The lineup begins at 5 p.m. each day, and continues through 9 p.m. on Sundays and weekdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, happenings run through 10 p.m.
Plan Ahead: For some artist workshops, you’ll need to order supplies from Canal Convergence a week in advance. Check workshop offerings early, so you’ll have enough time to get what you need. Also, some events are selling out quickly, which means you might miss out if you wait too long to buy a ticket or make a reservation.
Cost: Most Canal Convergence offerings are free, but there are some exceptions. Bring money for food and drinks if you want to explore local eateries around Old Town, and don’t forget about money for buying local art, souvenirs, or holiday gifts.
Safety: Organizers expect people attending live indoor or outdoor events to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. They’re recommending that you bring a mask, hand sanitizer, water, and phone.
Art Installations: Canal Convergence features several light-based artworks, which you can find using the online map. Seven of these temporary works of art have an augmented reality elements. Keep an eye out for other public artworks located in and around Old Town, which range from Ed Mell’s Jack Knife to John Randall Nelson’s One-Eyed Jack. Some have augmented reality components you can access during Canal Convergence.
Here’s a look at Canal Convergence artworks, organized according to how and where you can experience them.
West Side of the Arizona Canal
Philadelphia studio Emerge Interactive created this interactive light installation that responds to the motion of foot traffic. Look for the 72-foot-long artwork on the west side of the Arizona Canal between Goldwater Boulevard and the Marshall Way Bridge.
East Side of the Arizona Canal
This installation, which was inspired by the prevalence of digital communications amid pandemic life, will be on view through December 31. The installation spanning over 200 feet across the Arizona Canal responds to pressure at six nearby pads, creating an interactive light sculpture. You’ll find it on the east side of the Arizona Canal between the Marshall Way Bridge and the Soleri Bridge/Scottsdale Road. During an online workshop, participants can create watercolor designs and learn how to illuminate them.
Marshall Way Bridge
The Paris-based artist drew inspiration from Isaac Newton’s research on light while creating this installation comprising 20 suspended LED frames that span a 40-foot expanse. The frames’ various colors shift over time to create diverse expressions of light.
Other Scottsdale Locations
Across the Divide by Casey Farina
Scottsdale Fashion Square
Phoenix artist Casey Farina used projection mapping to create shifting human forms and habitats that will be projected onto several windows at Scottsdale Fashion Square. During the virtual workshop, participants will transform “real-world” instructions into computer code.
Scottsdale Artists’ School
Budapest-based Koros Design combined textiles, LEDs, and pulsed motion to create four inflatable light sculptures inspired by plant life. The artists will lead a virtual tour of their studio, and invite people to make their own kaleidoscopes.
First Avenue and Marshall Way
The California-based creatives culled a shape from sacred geometry to create a light-based sculpture meant to honor mathematical and scientific discoveries. The title of this piece, which includes 10,000 LED lights, references a Mesoamerican serpent deity.
Created by an interdisciplinary artist collective based in Boston, this installation features sound and art projections. The projections will be presented at outside locations at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, and SouthBridge buildings. The artists created an app you can use to create your own composition with audio and sound elements they captured around Old Town, and you can submit your composition to the artists if you'd like your work to be folded into the installation.
Second Street and Drinkwater Boulevard
This 12-foot-high light sculpture was created by an Israel-based interdisciplinary studio, which took inspiration from health care workers and families affected by COVID-19. The artists created an accompanying website, which you can use it to upload your own “messages of love, hope, care, and thanks.” The messages will become part of an augmented reality component for this artwork.
Augmented Reality Artworks
Keeping Time by Casey Farina
Experience this kinetic sculpture, which is best viewed under an open sky, by downloading the Hoverly app. You’ll be able to unlock the artwork from home or using QR codes that will be placed around Old Town. The artwork includes a soundscape rooted in gamelan bells.
The Phoenix-based artist used line drawings that reference organic matter observed in an Old Town alleyway to create artwork meant to heighten awareness about the complexity of urban environments.
Experience music and dance performed by Rosy and Alex Mack on Friday, November 6. The livestreamed music lineup includes the Gabe Kubanda Band (November 7), The Sawmill Grinders (November 8), Jazz from The Nash (November 9), LuMar (November 10), and The Hourglass Cats (November 12).
Canal Convergence also features livestreamed poetry readings at 5 p.m. each night. Here’s the lineup: Amber McCrary (November 6), Oscar Mancinas (November 7), Bob Frost (November 8), Hunter Hazelton (November 9), Rashaad Thomas (November 10), Nova Baize (November 11), Eloisa Emezcua (November 12), Raquel Gutiérrez (November 13), Kazim Ali (November 14), and Sarah Vap (November 15).
Virtual offerings also include ITCH Theatre’s Scratch Comedy on Wednesday, November 11 and a storytelling event called Gather on Sunday, November 15.
Movement Source Dance Company will perform Reconnect! A Parking Lot Dance Project on Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14. The 30-minute event, which will happen on the top level of the Scottsdale Civic Center Library garage, includes live music by Drew Bollmann and Tobie Milford.
More Old Town Art Offerings
If you’re looking for more ways to experience the Scottsdale arts scene, you’ve got several options — including exhibits at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale Museum of the West, and Old Town galleries. Check out Scottsdale Arts galleries inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Civic Center Library, where you can see works by local artists. The free Scottsdale ArtWalk on Thursday, November 12, runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is presenting two live, ticketed performances in conjunction with Canal Convergence, including Life Filled With (Stevie) Wonder on Friday, November 13, and With a Song in My Heart, a Tribute to Doris Day on Sunday, November 15.
Canal Convergence is scheduled for Friday, November 6, through Sunday, November 15. Most events are free but some require an RSVP or ticket. Visit canalconvergence.com.
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