Water Striders

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Client: City of Scottsdale

Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Scottsdale Public Art

Scottsdale Public Art

Artist

Jeff Zischke

Other

Sean Deckert

Calnicean Projects

Overview

For Canal Convergence | Spring Equinox, Jeff Zischke designed a total of 8 twelve-foot long and five-foot tall water strider sculptures that were scattered across the surface of the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront from Soleri Bridge and Plaza to the Marshall Way bridge. During event nights, viewers had the opportunity to change the colors and patterns of the glowing water striders using an iPad.

Goals

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.

Process

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.

Additional Information

The artist created a custom program with a touch censored graphical interface to enable the attendees of the event and general public to engage directly with the sculptures throughout the event weekend. Using an iPad, the public was able to adjust the colors of the individual parts of each sculpture and choose from a number of different pre-programmed patterns of light and color.