FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2023
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Scottsdale Arts’ Canal Convergence will explore the power and influence that play has in our lives through engaging public art, performances and programming from Nov. 3–12, 2023, at the Scottsdale Waterfront.
The free, 10-night event features large-scale public artworks created by artists from around the world alongside live music and dance performances, creative workshops, educational tours and activities, food trucks, and a beer and wine garden. In addition to the event’s perennial focus on the union of water, art, and light, interactivity and sustainability, this year’s featured theme is “The Power of Play.”
“Since play is often associated with games, fun and childhood, acts of play can sometimes be dismissed as trivial or inconsequential,” said Jennifer Gill, deputy director of Canal Convergence. “However, play also taps into humanity’s most basic instincts to facilitate learning, growth, and social engagement. For this year’s Canal Convergence, we wanted to highlight this vital part of the human experience through an equally important part of human development and social engagement: Art.”
With interactivity being one of the enduring themes of the event, acts of play have always had a significant role in Canal Convergence. For 2023’s event, Gill challenged artists to propose engaging and immersive public artworks that speak to play and acts of play’s importance in people’s lives. By harnessing the power of play through public art, artists have the opportunity to inspire and create meaningful experiences that reveal play’s true power.
“Another beneficial result of play is its unique ability to unite people across all ages, genders and cultures through shared experience,” said Gill. “As a part of the art selection process, we sought installations that could be enjoyed as an individual, with friends and family, and together with total strangers.”
Among the 2023 artworks will be “DICE” by Iregular, a Montreal-based digital art studio that creates with a focus on interactive and immersive experiences. “DICE” is a large-scale interactive sculpture consisting of five white cubes floating above the Arizona Canal. This five-part experience invites viewers to play with their own shadows, which react to their movements with different shapes, colors and patterns that change with each cube.
Iregular founder Daniel Iregui said games are a metaphor for life.
“When we were set to create a piece inspired by the power of play, we were impelled to explore that invisible force that pervades all game experiences: luck,” said Iregui. “As if tossed by a giant, our five ‘dice’ floating on the Arizona canal invite people to use their shadows to create infinitely random artworks.”
Canal Convergence will also continue its sustainability work with its third year partnering with the city of Scottsdale’s water department, Scottsdale Water, to host the One Water Brewing Showcase during the first weekend of the event. The event will also branch out in the community through a partnership with the Women's Collective for the Night Run; a 5K race along the Arizona Canal on Saturday, Nov. 4.
In the coming months, additional Canal Convergence artworks and information about performances, workshops and other aspects of the event will be announced and added to the event website at CanalConvergence.com.
Canal Convergence is made possible with annual support from the City of Scottsdale, Billie Jo Herberger, SRP, Christine and Richard Kovach, National Endowment for the Arts, Nationwide, Darren Jeffrey, Sirius Structures, Panasonic Canada, Dollar Radio Rentals and others.
Canal Convergence is a department of the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts. Through its dynamic partnership with the city of Scottsdale, Scottsdale Arts creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and outreach opportunities for the community while fostering active engagement with the arts among individuals, businesses, educational institutions and government agencies. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multidisciplinary arts organization, offering an exceptional variety of programs for both residents and visitors through Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art, Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, Canal Convergence and Civic Center Live!
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