At the turn of fall in Scottsdale, travelers not only find cooler temperatures, but also the beginning of a flurry of activity, and this comes with no exceptions in 2021. With festivals and new exhibits, plus jaw-dropping art installations from around the world, there’s plenty to keep the curious traveler busy. Those with an itch to get away can artfully plan a trip to the desert by hitting these highlights.
FESTIVALS + EVENTS
• Canal Convergence returns to the Scottsdale Waterfront Nov. 5-14. During the 10-day festival, public artworks created by artists from around the world illuminate the Scottsdale Waterfront each evening, while visitors immerse themselves in interactive art, augmented reality, music, dance, and the return of fire shows on the historic Arizona Canal. Each year, the large-scale public art event is organized around a central theme, and this year focuses on the powerful combined forces of art and technology, allowing event goers to discover cutting-edge technologies in art and gain knowledge on the role of technology in art making.
• Concurrently, Scottsdale International Film Festival will welcome film buffs from near and far, Nov. 5-12, connecting audiences with award-winning cinema from around the globe. During its 20-year history, the festival has presented more than 700 films – from Academy Award winners to undiscovered indie gems – to more than 110,000 attendees.
• On Dec. 3, Taliesin West and Desert Botanical Garden will open, “Chihuly in the Desert.” This stunning, large-scale exhibition by Dale Chihuly, activated in two iconic Arizona locations, will showcase the American glass sculptor’s masterpieces drawing on color and light from the surrounding desert (through June 19, 2022).
EXHIBITS + ATTRACTIONS
• Immersive Van Gogh is now open in Old Town Scottsdale, where visitors are surrounded by 500,000 cubic feet of moving projections of Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic works, paired with ambient sounds and music (through Nov. 28).
• Explore the world of dance and theatre with performances and family-friendly shows at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, like, “Flamenco Intimo,” “Cinderella: A Classic Fairytale Opera,” and, “The Underwater Bubble Show.”
• At Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, find new exhibits, “Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake,” and, “Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists.” O Chun’s exhibition features soft sculptures that prompt viewers to reexamine the past year, reckoning with illusions influenced by pop culture and consumerism. Meanwhile, “Forever Becoming,” highlights 11 local artists’ works, tackling a variety of topics around the resilience, determination, and evolution of the new generation (both through Jan. 23, 2022).
• Other art experiences to be had in Old Town Scottsdale include, “Before I Die” by Candy Chang at Wonderspaces, in which visitors write personal aspirations to share with the public, and a new exhibition at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. “Light and Legacy: The Art and Techniques of Edward S. Curtis," opens Oct. 19 and honors Native Americans through images, audio and motion pictures from photographer, Edward Curtis (through Spring 2023).
• The Native Art Market, traditionally a pop-up market in fall and spring, recently opened its first brick and mortar store, the first Native-owned shop in Old Town. It is open daily and showcases over 200 Native small businesses.
For more Scottsdale travel information, visit https://www.experiencescottsdale.com/