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The Art Gallery of Alberta’s bi-annual Refinery late-night art party is a longstanding favourite of YEG audiences, and the event launches into its ninth year with the fashion-inspired Refinery en Vogue. On March 19, all three levels of the gallery will come alive, featuring a fashion show (with custom creations by local designers and the season’s latest looks by event partner West Edmonton Mall fashion retailers), one-of-a kind art on display, interactive art activities (inviting everyone to participate) and music by fashion-forward DJs GirlsClub.
In 2010 Refinery launched, coinciding with the opening of the AGA’s new building, as gallery programmers were looking for innovative ways to attract new people to the AGA. More than a party, Refinery is a chance for visitors to see the exhibitions, try new art activities, and participate in special programming outside of regular gallery offerings. The hope is that Refinery-goers will be encouraged to come back as regular gallery-goers. Always themed, Refinery has paid homage to Explorers of the North, gone Baroque, gone Metal, re-created Andy Warhol’s Factory, and honoured the ever-popular ‘90s cult classic movie Back to the Future. The theme is always connected to the exhibitions on view, giving people a way to engage with the overall gallery experience.This year’s fashion-themed Refinery connects to current design-related exhibitions being presented through the Poole Centre of Design (an integrated series of programs and exhibitions organized to explore current design thinking)—specifically Charrette Roulette: FABRIC, where the artists involved created a functioning textile studio in the gallery. Fashion also straddles the fields of art and design, and ties in well with the vanguard spirit of Refinery.
For Refinery en Vogue, local designers Malorie Urbanovich, LUXX ready-to-wear and WORKHALL were recruited to show their own looks for the fashion show, and West Edmonton Mall chose retailers Kit and Ace, DKNY Donna Karan New York and Simons to represent their fashion-forward brand. Artists Jenna Turner and Linda Moir, as well as the Art & Fashion students from iHuman Youth Society were commissioned as artists because of their strong connections to both the art and fashion communities.“Jenna Turner has a background in set design and a passion for fashion. Linda Moir has a degree in Clothing and Textiles from the University of Alberta. Together they are making a cool, interactive installation that frames vintage items of clothing. Attendees can stand behind the clothes and take photos of themselves in different outfits, just like paper dolls,” says Refinery programmer Meaghan Froh. “And iHuman will be designing an installation to hang over the Atrium that will reference a clothesline. They were interested in the idea of how seeing a stranger’s laundry hanging on a clothesline can provide a perspective into their lives.”
In addition to the fashion show and art installations, Refinery en Vogue will feature two art activities on the second and third levels of the gallery. On the second level, there will be a block-printing station where visitors can design their own blocks to print images on handkerchiefs and tote bags, and on the third level, finger-knitting—a throwback to everyone’s favourite childhood fashion craft. Finger-knitting is a fun and easy way to knit bracelets, headbands and necklaces out of cotton strips and yarn. Rounding out the evening, ahead-of-the-curve retro DJs GirlsClub will fill the space with electrifying, danceable sounds.
As always, Refinery promises to deliver a unique party experience, providing something for everyone to enjoy during their night at the AGA. Strike a pose and get ready for Refinery en Vogue, March 19, 9 pm-2 am at the Art Gallery of Alberta. Tickets $45/$39 AGA Members/$22.50 Ultra-members, on sale. Buy Tickets.
Gallery admission is included in the ticket price and gives access to the following exhibitions:
Refinery en Vogue is sponsored by West Edmonton Mall and Langham Developments.