Press Release

October 7, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | [email protected] | 480-874-4626

Canal Convergence Features Dozens of Workshops,
Performances and Other Events

Nicole L Olson and dancers perform during Canal Convergence 2019. Olson will return for two performances during Canal Convergence 2021, Nov. 5–14. Photo: Andrew Pielage.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — The light-based artworks are always a major draw to Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light, but the annual 10-day event also includes a wide variety of creative workshops, exciting performances, introspective artist talks, captivating augmented reality experiences, educational tours and tasty food and drink.

“I cannot wait to experience Canal Convergence at the Scottsdale Waterfront with all of the programming and performances returning,” said Kim Boganey, director of Scottsdale Public Art, which produces the event. “We look forward to safely seeing you at the waterfront, with a beverage in hand and enjoying great music, dance and educational programming!”

This year’s Canal Convergence, Nov. 5–14, 2021, marks a return of in-person programming following the 2020 event, which saw workshops, performances and other aspects of the event move to a virtual format. However, the 2020 pivot also spurred new ideas, including the use of augmented reality (AR).

There will be five unique AR experiences this year. Event attendees can virtually tour the Arizona Canal’s history and engineering with Salt River Project, meet the artists behind the works at this year’s event, explore the stories behind Scottsdale Public Art’s permanent collection, and immerse themselves in two AR artworks. All AR experiences can be accessed on the Hoverlay app, via the +ScottsdalePublicArt channel. Attendees should download the free app prior to visiting Canal Convergence.

“Most exciting to me personally is ‘Scavenger Hunt: The Case of the Missing Artwork,’ where you’ll look for AR clues along the waterfront near sculptures that were designed by robotics and visual arts students from Saguaro High School,” said Natalie Marsh, director of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, which oversees much of the programming at Canal Convergence each year. “Designing this unique experience took a team of artists, students, teachers and software developers, and we hope it is a fun way to learn about the canal’s ecosystem.”

Though technology has long been an important aspect of canal convergence, it is highlighted through this year’s theme of “Art and Technology” in conjunction with CODAsummit, which will be hosted by Scottsdale Arts during the second week of Canal Convergence. Marsh said innovation is at the heart of technology and human advancement, which is why Canal Convergence organizers are excited to have the Nationwide Innovation Zone at this year’s event, featuring more than 30 different workshops for kids, teens and adults.

Canal Convergence workshops are delivered by an incredibly diverse group of local, national and international artists that explore the overlap of art and technology. Visitors will be able to build art-making robots and LED lanterns, contribute to groundbreaking research in drone design, explore various art-making software, and combine science, technology and art using watercolors. Workshop presenters include multiple faculty members and researchers from Arizona State University.

Many of the artists behind Canal Convergence’s large-scale installations will also offer artist talks during the event, though most of these limited engagements are already sold out. Attendees can still hear from the artists by accessing behind-the-scenes AR features associated with their artworks.

Art tours of the event are another option for learning more about the 11 large-scale artworks at Canal Convergence this year, four of which are coming from foreign countries. For more information about the artworks, visit the event website.

When they aren’t experiencing the artwork or creating with technology in a workshop, visitors to Canal Convergence can enjoy a little nightlife at the beer and wine garden at Soleri Plaza, which will also feature food trucks on the weekends and live entertainment nightly.

“Like years past, our goal has been to invite an eclectic lineup of local musicians and artists to Canal Convergence,” said Abbey Messmer, programming director at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, which booked this year’s performers. “You’ll hear everything from jazz, R&B, and country to J-pop, mariachi, and folk music. Storytellers are also featured in the lineup, as well as sets from young rockers from Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center. This live music will be the perfect soundtrack for enjoying the awesome weather and the incredible art.”

In addition to nightly entertainment on Soleri Stage, there will be two special dance performances on Nov. 6 and 13 by NicoleOlson | MovementChaos. Olson’s dances are a perennial tradition at Canal Convergence, and this year the company will offer “Aura,” a 20-minute dance piece inspired by the art of Canal Convergence.

A couple of special events at the VIP Lounge offer a different way to enjoy Canal Convergence. On Tuesday, Nov. 9, Scottsdale Arts Young Professionals, Scottsdale Rising Young Professionals and Scottsdale Leadership will convergence for an evening of unforgettable art, ambience and networking at the waterfront. Then, on Saturday, Nov. 13, attendees can join Scottsdale Arts ONE Members as they sip, savor and sustain the arts at the Canal Convergence Closing Bash. Both exclusive events are ticketed.

The complete schedule of events can be found online at Artist talks, tours and workshops all require registration and most of the workshops have fees to cover the costs of materials. Many of the opportunities fill up quickly.

Canal Convergence is made possible, in part, by sponsorship from the City of Scottsdale, Billie Jo + Judd Herberger, SRP, Nationwide, Clearwing Productions, Epson America, Canopy by Hilton Old Town Scottsdale, Christine and Richard Kovach, Magnum Companies, and Total Shade. For a full list of sponsors and other event details, visit For information about CODAsummit, visit