Client: City of Scottsdale
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $15,000
SRP, Utility Company
Artisan Markets AZ
Artisan Markets AZ
Canal Convergence is an annual series of engaging and inspiring free events at the Scottsdale Waterfront featuring innovative large scale installations by local and international artists, hands-on activities, live music, performances, and Artisan Market's urban marketplace experience. The Canal Convergence events build community through interactive and socially engaging artist installations.
The goal of Canal Convergence events is to provide free cultural events that draw the community from the greater Phoenix area as well as visitors to the Scottsdale Waterfront—the only section of canal in Arizona that has mixed-use development facing the canal. Commissioning temporary public artworks at a reoccurring series of events is an ideal way to create awareness of and attraction to this vital park-like area in the heart of Scottsdale’s downtown. Unique, large-scale, and interactive artwork provides many benefits in this context. Attendees are drawn to these events by the immediacy of temporary installations and the special experience of interacting with them. In turn, the artworks themselves help illustrate the importance of this area and the canals to our community.
Each annual Canal Convergence series begins with a call to artists that has been carefully crafted by Scottsdale Public Art (SPA) staff with input from leading event partner Salt River Project (SRP), the utility company that manages Arizona’s canals. The selected artists work closely with SPA and in some cases SRP staff to accomplish challenging installations both in the canal channel itself and on the banks.
Scottsdale is home to Arizona’s first and only urban canal waterfront, featuring aspects of the local commercial, corporate, and residential communities; it draws new audiences and locals downtown. The Arizona Canal offers many rich topics, but the focus of the Canal Convergence events and artworks is on the canal’s architectural form—its function as a power and water utility corridor, and its history as a lifeline for humans in the Sonoran desert. This also includes our connections to water within many contexts—life-sustaining, recreational, conservation, and protection.