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Scottsdale Arts announces Canal Convergence 2023 workshops, performances and more

Workshops, performances and more will return to Scottsdale Arts’ Canal Convergence Nov. 3–12 at the Scottsdale Waterfront. At left are Lyndal Pleasant and David Blakeman at right. (Photos Courtesy of NicoleOlson and MovementChaos/DigitalFreePress)
Scottsdale Arts poised for spectacular Canal Convergence run this November
Bryan Passey | Scottsdale Arts

Scottsdale Arts’ Canal Convergence is known for the light-based interactive artworks that anchor the free event every November, but there are also more than 100 creative workshops, eclectic performances, educational tours and other activities over the course of its 10 nights.

Among the things to do is a new mini film festival on Nov. 8 and the return of the One Water Brewing Showcase during the first weekend (Nov. 3­–4) of the event, which runs nightly at the Scottsdale Waterfront from Nov. 3–12.

Scottsdale Arts will also offer the first iterations of the Canal Convergence Art Tour translated into Spanish (Nov. 6) and American Sign Language (Nov. 8). During these tours, attendees learn all about the artworks, which are coming to Scottsdale from across the United States and around the world.

Most of the performances, workshops and other activities are free, just like the main event itself. The exceptions are select workshops, which have nominal fees for the materials used. However, even some of the free workshops and tours require an RSVP because space is limited.

Just like the artworks, the workshops play to the 2023 theme, “The Power of Play.”

“From playing music, to playing with junk, this year’s workshops showcase the diverse ways we play with art while also staying true to the continuous themes of water, light and sustainability,” said Lyndal Pleasant, Canal Convergence engagement consultant for Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “Play is a critical component for artmaking, and it’s also just so relatable. Therefore, it was important to have workshops in an array of art mediums for a diverse audience.”

Monster-making, silk painting and audio speaker-building are just a few of the play-filled workshops taking place in the Innovation Zone. Workshop presenters range from Canal Convergence exhibiting artists, like Lindsay Glatz of New Orleans, who will lead an interactive rainbow-making workshop, to Arizona-based artists, like performer Zarco Guerrero, who will host a mask-making workshop demonstrating the power of play in fine and performance art.

There will even be a dress-up space from Phoenix-based fashion designer Francisco Diaz, where attendees can play dress-up and learn about the world of upcycled fashion.

Each weekend, the Scottsdale Arts Roundabout will feature different, play-filled engagements hosted by community partner organizations. Some highlights include the Puppet Pie ice cream truck, where attendees can get a treat from a fairy and make their own paper puppet, to the newly renamed S’edav Va’aki Museum (formerly Pueblo Grande), where guests can create canal fish or silly snakes while learning about the history of the archeological site.

Scottsdale Arts poised for spectacular Canal Convergence run this November

Canal Convergence is also teaming up with partner organizations and sponsors for some special events. SRP, which has been a partner of Canal Convergence since the beginning, will bring back its history tour, while The Women’s Collective Night Run is back for a second year, with the race check-in and starting line located just southwest of Canal Convergence.

Lululemon will host a ticketed yoga event on Nov. 8, directly under the interactive artwork “Ripple,” by the United Kingdom-based Ithaca Studio, on Marshall Way Bridge. And the Scottsdale Gallery Association’s first Gold Palette ArtWalk of the season will take place on Nov. 9 in association with Canal Convergence.

Another longtime partner, the city of Scottsdale, is once again providing trash containers to be painted by an artist-led group of local teens and Canal Convergence attendees. Artist Blaise Danio will lead the public painting activities during Canal Convergence, and after the event, the brightly colored containers will be placed around Scottsdale.

Augmented reality offerings are back this year via the +ScottsdalePublicArt channel on Hoverlay. The AR centerpiece this year is a series of three AR-infused murals by Arizona-based artist Isaac Caruso, where “characters” from the mural come to life. The first mural will be located at Canal Convergence; the second inside Scottsdale Fashion Square, near the lululemon store; and the third at Scottsdale Civic Center as part of the lululemon 10KTour.

The debut of the Canal Convergence Mini Film Festival will explore themes of play, water, art and light through a block of short films that include live-action, animation, drama and comedy. The films are curated by Ernie Quiroz, who has programmed for prominent film festivals like Sundance, Telluride and SXSW. The films will be shown at the Herberger Stage, surrounded by the Canal Convergence Beer and Wine Garden at Soleri Plaza.

All other nights of Canal Convergence, the Herberger Stage will host live music from a wide variety of Arizona-based and regional performers.

“’The Power of Play’ is super fun to work with from an entertainment perspective,” said Diandra Adamczyk, programming manager at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, who curated the entertainment for Canal Convergence. “We’re bringing in the Los Angeles-based Tropa Magica for some tropical Cumbia, alongside everything from folk-pop to R&B.”

Other headliners include Pleasure Cult (indie-pop), Earth Surface People (soul), Veronica Everheart (indie-rock), Jaleo (Latin) and Rising Sun Daughter (Americana).

Dance has a long tradition at Canal Convergence, and this year is no different. NicoleOlson|Movement Chaos returns on Nov. 11 with “Wave Play,” an epic collaboration with Ithaca Studio on Marshall Way Bridge. Additionally, BeKind Crew and the Scottsdale Community College Dance Department will make their Canal Convergence debuts on Nov. 9 and 12, respectively.

Attendees who want to add to the atmosphere of light can stop by The Store @ Canal Convergence to purchase light-up gear and Canal Convergence-branded merchandise. Additionally, food trucks and dessert vendors will be present on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, while the Soleri Bar will be open for wine, beer, canned cocktails and soft drinks throughout the event. Among the food trucks is Firehouse Kettle Corn with benefits going toward firefighter charities.

Patrons can support Canal Convergence by purchasing tickets to the Canal Convergence Opening Celebration on Nov. 4 at The Lounge, where they will sip, savor and sustain the arts at this fundraiser. Each ticket comes with a complimentary drink voucher and the opportunity to take advantage of an outdoor evening in the midst of both art and ambiance.

Then on Nov. 7, The Lounge will host Scottsdale Professionals Converge, a networking event hosted by NextGen@Scottsdale Arts, Scottsdale Leadership and Scottsdale Rising Young Professionals. Tickets to this event include light hors d’oeuvres and access to The Lounge’s cash bar.

For the last five days of Canal Convergence, The Lounge will open up to all attendees as a place to grab a drink, play some yard games with friends and relax in Adirondack chairs.

Finally, back for its third year is another collaboration with the city of Scottsdale via the One Water Brewing Showcase. Happening on Nov. 3 and 4 only, attendees can sample five different beers from participating breweries for $20. The twist is that all the beers are made exclusively with ultra-purified water from Scottsdale Water’s Advanced Water Treatment Plant. And this year, we’re turning the judging over to the public with online voting for the best beer of the showcase.

Scottsdale Water is partnering with Arizona breweries to highlight water sustainability and conservation, especially during this time of prolonged drought and water shortages. Partnering breweries include AZ Wilderness Brewing Co., Desert Monks Brewing Co., Fate Brewing Co., Huss Brewing Co., North Mountain Brewing, O.H.S.O. Brewery, Walter Station Brewery and Wren House Brewing.

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