top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Valley of the Fun

Art, Water and Light Meet at Canal Convergence in Old Town Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light — winner of the 2019 Gold Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festival & Events Association — is a free, 10-day, public art event from Nov. 8–17, 2019, at the Scottsdale Waterfront.

Last year, the event drew out more than a quarter-million visitors, thanks in part to a nightly, choreographed fire show from one of the art installations, “Floatus” by Scottsdale’s own Walter Productions. That artist studio is returning this year with another fire-producing installations, “Water Serpent,” which will again offer nightly fire shows set to music.

Also featured this year is “Standing Wave” by the UK-based artist studio Squidsoup, which brought the wildly popular “Ocean of Light: Submergence” installation to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) during the summer of 2017. Canal Convergence and SMoCA are presenting an expanded installation by Squidsoup in two locations this year with “Standing Wave” at the Waterfront and “Murmuration” installed at SMoCA.

And those are just three of the 14 large-scale artworks at this immersive public art event. Aside from “Murmuration,” located at SMoCA, the light-based, interactive artworks will be installed near the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront for all 10 days of the event. The installations were created by artists from across the nation (Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan) and around world (Canada, France, Russia, the United Kingdom).

“We’re excited about the selection of artists for this November’s Canal Convergence,” said Kim Boganey, director of Scottsdale Public Art. “The artists selected will present artworks that engage, encourage interaction, intrigue and educate viewers about water, public art and light.”

The theme for Canal Convergence 2019 is “The Story of Water.” In addition to artworks and creative workshops that reference that theme, Canal Convergence is also partnering with Scottsdale Water for the One Water Brewing Showcase, a special engagement within the event for the first two days only: Nov. 8 and 9. It’s the world’s first beer festival featuring only craft beers brewed with recycled water.

Earlier this year, Scottsdale Water became the first water agency in Arizona permitted to treat recycled water for potable use. The One Water Brewing Showcase at Canal Convergence will spotlight 10 beers crafted by 11 breweries in the metro-Phoenix area. Each of the beers will be made from recycled water delivered directly from Scottsdale’s Advanced Water Treatment Plant.

The showcase is just one part of Canal Convergence’s sustainability efforts as it promotes resource conservation and pursues a goal of becoming a zero-waste event. Scottsdale Water will also have a trailer at the event for visitors to fill reusable water bottles. And food vendors will use disposables that are either compostable or biodegradable.

Although the One Water Brewing Showcase is only the first two days of Canal Convergence, for all 10 days there will be drinks available at the Mural Oasis Beer and Wine Bar and a variety of food vendors — all located at Soleri Plaza around the main entertainment stage, which will offer up a nightly menu of live music, storytelling and comedy from local performers. Three dance performances will also be highlighted during the 10 days.

While there will be plenty of fun activities, some of them also come with the opportunity to learn or create. Free artist talks will take visitors through the artists’ artistic process and how they created the installations featured at Canal Convergence. And Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation will host educational tours of Canal Convergence and facilitate workshops from featured Canal Convergence artists, other local artists and local nonprofits.

“Attendees of Canal Convergence will be treated to a number of unique and exciting workshops delivered by local, national and international artists,” said Natalie Marsh, director of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “From printmaking to technology, these workshops not only engage visitors in the themes of the event, but also involve them in the artistic practice used by the artists.”

The workshops include hands-on art projects, water conservation education and more. Because of limited space, certain workshops require an RSVP, and some will have a nominal fee to cover the cost of materials.

Also associated with Canal Convergence is the Local Light initiative which extends the footprint of the event beyond the Waterfront and into surrounding Old Town Scottsdale. Six light-based installations created by artists from the metro-Phoenix area will be on display from Oct. 26 through Dec. 31 in or near local businesses.

Canal Convergence is presented by Scottsdale Public Art, a branch of Scottsdale Arts, along with the City of Scottsdale, Salt River Project, Billie Jo + Judd Herberger and Mural Oasis. Visit for more information, including detailed artwork descriptions, artist information and the schedule for workshops, performances and other activities.


SCOTTSDALE ARTS Through its dynamic partnership with the City of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational and outreach opportunities for the community, while fostering active engagement of individuals, businesses, education and government with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation — serving more than 600,000 participants annually. In conjunction with the City of Scottsdale, we also host more than 200,000 people annually on our campus through a robust rentals program.

SCOTTSDALE PUBLIC ART The mission of Scottsdale Public Art is to make Scottsdale one of the most desirable communities in the country in which to live, work and visit by incorporating art and design projects throughout. In 1985, the City of Scottsdale established Scottsdale Public Art with the goal to enhance the quality of life for its residents and visitors. Since then more than 100 permanent and temporary public artworks have been commissioned throughout the community. Scottsdale’s program and projects have won local, regional and national awards.

SCOTTSDALE ARTS LEARNING & INNOVATION Scottsdale Arts’ Learning & Innovation initiatives build a strong, vibrant community through the arts. The high-quality exhibitions, programs and events foster dialogue, promote tolerance, invoke wonder and build connections to each other. Matinee performances, guided museum tours, hands-on workshops, artist residencies and creative aging programs serve more than 40,000 students and adults annually.



bottom of page