Starting this week in downtown Scottsdale, expect to see more masked-up pedestrians with their phones out and pointed at temporary and permanent public artworks scattered throughout the Waterfront and Old Town areas.
No, they’re not tourists merely taking photos; they’re participating in the annual 10-day experience Canal Convergence, which has expanded past its usual Waterfront area this year in an effort to prevent crowding.
Canal Convergence has placed large-scale public artworks throughout downtown and paired them with augmented reality (AR) experiences that include everything from hologram artist talks and tours to interactive animations.
People don’t have to leave their homes to take part in Canal Convergence Nov. 6-15 this year.
Also new to the experience are virtual workshops, live-streamed events, and drive-in performances.
Alt-pop musician Gabe Kubanda, for example, is just one of the music, dance, and spoken-word performances that will be live-streamed during Canal Convergence.
“I feel so blessed and lucky to be able to still connect with fans and people through this pandemic via a livestream performance at Canal Convergence,” said Kubanda, co-creator of the Epic Proportions Tour and the nonprofit EduMusication program.
Kubanda will perform on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.
Other musical acts include the Sawmill Grinders, Jazz from the Nash, LuMar, the Hourglass Cats, and Rosy and Alex Mack; and all of their performances are free to watch online.
Other live-streamed events include a program by ITCH Theatre’s Scratch Comedy Troupe on Nov. 11 and “Gather,” storytelling at the Kerr Cultural Center, on Nov. 15.
Poets, including Amber McCrary, Oscar Mancinas, Bob Frost, Hunter Hazelton, Rashaad Thomas, Walonda Williams, Eloisa Amezcua, Raquel Gutiérrez, Kazim Ali, and Sarah Vap, will also give nightly readings.
And Canal Convergence will also embrace unconventional stages.
At the top of the Civic Center Library parking garage, attendees can watch from inside their cars the Movement Source Dance Company troupe dance to the live music of Drew Bollmann and contemporary violinist Tobie Milford.
“Reconnect! A Parking Lot Dance Project” takes place Nov. 13 and 14.
“That’s going to be half the treat for the evening, for sure, is hearing the beautiful, amazing, interesting music they play,” said Mary Anne Fernandez-Herding, director of Movement Source Dance Company. “We created the score together with the movement and the music.”
In addition to the nearly 20 AR experiences, 10 of which were added to artworks from the Scottsdale Public Art Permanent Collection throughout Old Town, including Robert Indiana’s “LOVE,” Bob Parks’ “Bronze Horse Fountain,” Paolo Soleri’s “Soleri Bridge and Plaza,” James Turrell’s “Knight Rise” and more, Canal Convergence will also offer eight different virtual workshops.
To view a map of all of the temporary installations and augmented reality artworks, visit Canal Convergence’s website at canalconvergence.com closer to the start of the experience – and don’t forget to download the Hoverlay app before you head out.