Scottsdale Waterfront art draws crowds to canal

We walk, bike, run and now — because of Scottsdale Public Art’s canal art enterprise — more of us muse.

The city’s public-art program forged a relationship with the Salt River Project three years ago to establish events celebrating art and the canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront. The relationship has been a branding coup for the utilities company, as waterfront visitors have stopped to wonder at the art, often lit and floating on, in or above the water, and the canal it adorns.

“We all know that when people come to these events they are looking at the lights,” said Jim Duncan, an SRP senior engineering analyst who manages the canal’s multiple use program. “But they also get a healthy exposure to the canal and they start asking questions. Where does this water come from? Where does it go?”

“Golden Waters” is the most recent artwork, on display at the Scottsdale Waterfront now through October.

RELATED: Scottsdale Waterfront becomes artistic playground

PHOTOS:Canal convergence 2015

Artist Grimanesa Amoròs has mounted a temporary light sculpture on the Soleri Bridge. The $43,000 piece extends parallel to the canal channel 80 feet west of the Soleri Bridge. Its sculpted LED tubing system will appear to rise from the canal waters below, celebrating a union of light and water.

The New York-based artist, known for researching the location and history of her installation sites, relied on Google, Google Earth and Scottsdale Public Art officials to learn about the canals. The origins of 130 miles of the canals, which are more than a century old, can be traced back to the ancient Hohokam Indians.

“I was so impressed with the story behind the canals, and I thought I wanted to make a piece that was inspired by the elegance of the Soleri Bridge but that would reflect the longevity of the water,” Amoròs said.

Golden Waters

What: Artist Grimanesa Amoròs has created a hovering light sculpture attached to the Soleri Bridge that extends parallel to the canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront.

When: Now through October.

Where: Scottsdale Waterfront canals, just southwest of the intersection of Scottsdale and Camelback roads.

Details: scottsdalepublicart.org/temporary-art/golden-waters

The wafting light over the canal curls up at the end to catch the attention of passers-by, she said.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if the waters would kind of come alive and come out of the canal.'”

“Golden Waters” has been one of five major canal art projects at the Scottsdale Waterfront since 2012.

This month, SRP and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reaffirmed a 50-year agreement to develop recreation enhancements on the canals for another 25 years. Included in the recreational developments, like trails for horseback riding and jogging, are more than $10 million in public art investments.

SRP has either supported the placement of public art or, through its Aesthetic Funds Program, helped fund artistic touches to lighting, seating and other trail improvements.

Tempe has had preliminary discussions with SRP on a small-scale, canal-plus-art venture.

Phoenix is exploring whether an event is feasible with planned upgrades to the canal that runs through Central Avenue just north of Central High School and south of Brophy College Preparatory.

Scottsdale Public Art officials said the city’s development of the waterfront made staging events there, and celebrating the canal that runs through it, a natural fit. International-caliber artists are drawn to a call for working with water as are desert dwellers to be near water, Donna Isaac, SPA director, said.

The canal art and accompanying activities, such as food vendors and music, has drawn up to 40,000 people to the Scottsdale Waterfront.

“It’s exciting for us to be a part of the economic fabric of Scottsdale,” she said.

Scottsdale Public Art canal art installations

“Nodal Water Gardens,” November – December 2012 by artist Jeff Zischke.

Voyage,” Nov. 7 – 18, 2013, by artists Aether Hemera (Claudio Benghi and Gloria Ronchi).

“Water Striders,” March – May 2014 by artist Jeff Zischke.

“Jellies in the Sky, Cacti in the Water,” November 2014 – February 2015 by artist Shana Koenig.

“Golden Waters,” June – September 2015 by artist Grimanesa Amoros.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2015/06/22/canal-art-sheds-light-salt-river-project/28986033/