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Arty Girl: Canalscape Opens Tomorrow at ASU

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I am such a moron sometimes, I swear.

I can name a handful of people I personally know who have coughed up a bunch of dough and trekked across the globe to Venice, Italy. And, of course, I've always wanted to go, too. Why? For the beautiful canals, of course.

I grew up in the Arcadia neighborhood. I've driven along Indian School, east of 44th Street, more times than I can count and it never, not once, occurred to me that we have the similar potential for our canals. Nope, never made the connection. I know, pathetic.

I'm so thankful for great minds like Nan Ellin. She's the Planning Program Director and Project Director for a brilliant plan called Canalscape.


Ellin sees our canals, based on the ancient Hohokam's crop irrigation system, as spaces teeming with possibilities for cultural hot spots. And she's been working with, well, everyone in town (ASU students, the City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, Arizona Humanities Council, American Institute of Architects, SRP and many more - just check out this impressive list) to promote and collaborate this exciting idea.

Imagine going for a stroll or a jog along the canal. You're not dodging traffic, you're not hearing engines scream by and you're not sucking up vehicle exhaust. Instead, you're cruising along the waterway with other pedestrians, following the easy, quiet flow of the canal stream. Then you stumble upon a little marketplace. You can stop for coffee and read the paper, meet your friend for lunch or pop into a boutique for a little shopping.

Doesn't that sound like a dream?

It really doesn't have to be. Just read this fabulous article in Phoenix Magazine. The plans for our 181 miles of canals (Venice only has a measly 125 miles, btw) seem totally doable.

Ellin, along with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, aims to turn this into a reality. 

ASU Art Museum will show off the collective efforts tomorrow night with the Canalscape Exhibit. Here, students have put together archival images of the canals, current images and conceptual images of what could be. They've also created a mini-canalscape in the museum's entryway.

The opening reception is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10th from 6-8 p.m. at ASU Art Museum, 10th St. and Mill Ave. in Tempe, 480-965-2787, asuartmuseum.asu.edu.

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