October 20, 2020

Canal Convergence Workshops Reconnect Community Through Creativity

If you are feeling cut off from the rest of the world, moody, frightened, and/or bored because of the life changes you have had to make to stay safe during these virus outbreaks, you are not alone—in fact, you are in the majority. Short of a vaccine, the best way to combat these feelings of isolation is to create!

Making art has a meditative effect. It lowers stress levels, which in turn boosts the immune system. And according to artist and art professor Mary Neubauer, art can get you through these tough times. Mary is one of several artists who will conduct virtual workshops for the 2020 Canal Convergence experience, starting November 6. The underlying theme of the workshops is connecting with community through art. 

Artist Mary Neubauer will be conducting workshops during Canal Convergence.
Photo courtesy: Mary Neubauer.

We asked Mary about how the pandemic has affected her life, and she responded that there are some silver linings to the COVID cloud that she is grateful for: 

“I have had amazingly productive studio time and assembled a small team of trusted assistants, former students who had lost jobs or opportunities during the pandemic. The long hours of concentrated studio work, free of distraction, were much needed and reminded me that the key to serious creative production is uninterrupted time. Pre-COVID life had become too busy and fragmented. Sculpture takes such a long time, long hours of intense focus.  It had become increasingly harder to take this time, which the isolation of the pandemic has provided. 

“Since the pandemic, my fellow artists and I have found ways to keep creating and showing our work, with online exhibitions and even physical shows. There is no way to stop art, and difficulty can sometimes inspire it.”

Mary Neubauer, artist

Mary’s two-part workshop is called Art Can Get You Through and will focus on how objects around the house can inspire creative projects. She will also invite a few other artists who will offer their stories of how they are staying creative. People who register will receive a supply kit in the mail, and participants will create a sculptural art objects inspired by something they look at every day in their home. 

Many workshops include supply kits that will be mailed to you that include everything you need to create. Photo: Kyllan Maney.

“What I hope people will take away from the workshop is a collection of resources to help them get by both the resources of the stories and suggestions of the artists who have successfully maintained their creative productivity during these difficult times, and tips on how to use items around the house and yard to be really creative,” Mary said. “I think the key to maintaining creativity during this time is to have deep personal resources.”

Koros Design will be presenting a workshop from their studio in Budapest, Hungary.
Photo: Koros Design.

In other workshops during Canal Convergence, participants will create kaleidoscopes, learn to create code sketches with JavaScript, express themselves with poetic language that can adorn their front windows, create unique and meaningful mandalas, use paper electronics designs to light up original watercolors, and collaboratively create lyrics to a song. 

Connect to each other through music and write silly love songs with AJ Odneal.
Photo: Nina Paz Photography.

We at Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation are excited to offer these high-quality virtual workshops to the public. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet professional artists and meet others who share your interests. We hope these workshops will inspire lots of creativity in our community! 

Note: All the workshops that require art supplies also require pre-registration at least one week prior to the workshop date(s) so a supply kit can be mailed. The costs of the workshops range from $5 to $25, which includes all supplies needed. Please visit for detailed information and to register.

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