Art Gallery of Alberta

The Rip-Roarin’ Refinery


Late-night art party
Saturday, June 1, 2013

9 pm–2 am
Sold out | 18+

NEW: Your Refinery tickets will now be mailed to you. We are no longer providing electronic tickets. Only valid AGA printed tickets will be accepted for admittance to the event.

Bring on the noise at The Rip-Roarin’ Refinery! Inspired by the AGA exhibition The Piano, the latest installment of our popular late-night art party swings us back to ’20s, when experimentation, rebellion and fun-loving flappers ran rampant! Under the creative direction of Edmonton-based singer/songwriter Colleen Brown, this night will break down all of your musical expectations with dazzling performances by Gilda Brass, Paul Arnusch and DJ Mitchmatic, a grand installation by Maegan R. Mehler, jazzy hands-on activities and more! Plus, get all dolled up for our Instagram costume contest for a chance to win a nifty Refinery prize package.

Did you know Refinery is not an AGA fundraising event? Refinery is one of the unique ways the AGA connects people, art and ideas through music, interactive projects and performances. To help support quality programming at future Refinery parties, please make a donation in addition to your ticket purchase.

Creative Director

Creative Director

Creative Director Statement

The piano has long been the instrument of choice for songwriters. It can be heard in the energetic heydays of the musical to the more experimental style of jazz and even in the ‘Top 40’ synth-laden hits that we hear now. The Rip-Roarin’ Refinery rolls us back to the first half of the 20th century to pay homage to an era of piano bars, torch ballads and rebellion. The evening culminates in a performance with a songbook that is both exuberant and sensual, marked with a strong female presence and feminist oeuvre that was present during the early 1900’s.


Colleen Brown grew up on the prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is now a force on the Canadian music scene, traveling coast to coast, singing and playing guitar, piano, and bass. She writes music that takes on the subjects of love, work, disappointment, and the many facets of humanity; she is often compared to Joni Mitchell and Carole King; she is played regularly on CKUA community radio and CBC nation-wide (including Q with Jian Ghomeshi); and she has toured and/or appeared onstage with Hawksley Workman, Jim Cuddy, Kathleen Edwards, Emm Gryner, Hannah Georgas, Frank Black, Don MacLean, Patrick Watson, Jakob Dylan, and the Crash Test Dummies.

Brown is currently recording in Los Angeles and has been hobnobbing with her musical heroes.


Gilda Brass Concert

Gilda Brass has been brought together under the auspices of creating something new from something old, and perhaps inspiring some hip-shaking in the process! The show is a mix of familiar tunes and new compositions with an eye to the past and an ear to a musical future with few constrictions: a great melody, a swinging rhythm, and a little bit of that Golden era… je ne sais quoi?

Assembled here are musicians weaned on the popular music of the last century: from Dixieland jazz to Birth of the Cool, Americana to Classic Rock. This was a group of solid players composed of horns, upright bass, drums, percussion, organ, piano, hollow-body electric guitar and vocals. Gilda Brass will get the beats bumping with old-school sensibilities, classic pop/jazz arrangements, snappy outfits and the occasional choreographed dance number.

Paul Arnusch Composition

Paul Arnusch will compose a soundtrack to a short film using a variety of different keyboards. In his composition, he will use the differences in textures between the keyboards to create a soundscape that evokes emotion and imagination in the viewer. The live performance aspect of the score will add a unique dimension to the viewing experience.

Girls in Water

Maegan R. Mehler will produce a multi-dimensional installation featuring three portraits using oil paint. The portraits will be hung on a wall decorated in the same vain as dazzle camouflage, which was applied to army ships in both WWI and WWII in order to disorient and mislead the enemy. The portraits will address issues of human experience, more specifically the idea of struggle.

Thank you to the Paint Spot for generously supporting this project.

DJ Mitchmatic

DJ Mitchmatic will compose and perform a musical collage, drawing inspiration and instrumentation primarily from 1920s recordings. Utilizing an MPC sample and triggering selected portions live, he will navigate through the decade and beyond to create a consistent, but expansive expression of the period. Then, binding these excerpts with modern production, he will actively juxtapose contemporary dance music with that of nearly a century ago.

And More…

The Rip-Roarin’ Refinery will surely be the cat’s meow with our musically-themed activities, dazzling performances, cheeky installations and more! Explore all of our exhibitions, indulge in a decadent treat and dance the night away to the hotsy-totsy tunes of DJ Mitchmatic.


Contributing Artists

Paul Arnusch

Paul Arnusch is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter and composer from Edmonton, AB. The scope of his work ranges from pop music to soundscapes. He has been involved in the creation and production of numerous recorded music projects. In addition to playing live shows as a member of various bands, he has also participated in several collaborations with filmmakers and other musicians to create an original score for a film, which is then performed live during a screening of the film.

Colleen Brown

Colleen Brown grew up on the prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is now a force on the Canadian music scene, traveling coast to coast, singing and playing guitar, piano, and bass. She writes music that takes on the subjects of love, work, disappointment, and the many facets of humanity. Brown is currently recording in Los Angeles and has been hobnobbing with her musical heroes.

Maegan Rose Mehler

Maegan Rose Mehler spends most of her time paying the bills, painting, object making, doing yoga, eating carrots and sweating the small stuff. She studied visual art at Grant MacEwan University and completed her BFA at the University of Victoria. She was chosen as the 2011 British Columbia winner for BMO First Art! Competition. In September she will begin her MFA at the University of Guelph, an adventure she is extremely excited to start.

Melher’s practice is based in figurative painting and minimalist sculpture. Within both mediums, her focus is on psychological and material relationships. She strives to create a space that pushes the viewer out while simultaneously pulling them back in. Although the work often comes from a place of heavy subject matter, it is important for her to convey it with lightness; using humour to disarm the viewer and provide balance.

DJ Mitchmatic

Mitch Holtby, A.K.A. Mitchmatic, is an emcee, produce and multi-instrumentalist. Through hundreds of shows, he has refined a particular blend of jazz and introspective hip-hop that has become his local and national calling-card. In addition to more commonly associated pursuits, Mitch harbours an expansive range of musical talent and is a frequent guest on many fellow musicians’ albums/projects.


Dress to Impress

A rip roarin’ time includes some dapper threads, right? Do not fear, Refinery fashion inspiration is here.

The Rip-Roarin’ Refinery invites you to let your hair down, put on your dancing shoes and let loose – in 1920s fashion. Think flappers, speakeasies and the Charleston in a night that’s sure to be the bee’s knees. Look your best and flaunt refined suits, shimmering metallics and accessories galore.



Special thanks to

Harvey Miedreich Photography
Mode Models
Fuss – art of hair
Stephanie Strazza Makeup

Swish Vintage
Fort Edmonton Park

All Dolled Up

The Refinery Costume Contest

Congratulations to our winner, Julie Rohr!


Prize Package
2 passes to The Piano Film Series at Metro Cinema
2 tickets to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Under the Sky
$100 gift card to Swish Vintage clothing store
$100 gift card to Shop AGA


About Refinery

Refinery is a series of late-night art parties themed around current AGA exhibitions featuring projects by local artists, designers and performers from the local arts community. Refinery aims to provide audiences with access to art in its many diverse forms, media and manifestations.

Each Refinery is led by an independent Creative Director. Creative Directors are asked to develop programming for the evening and assist with the vision of this popular event. Past Refinery Creative Directors include: Fish Griwkowsky, Jessica Kennedy, Tim Rechner, fast & dirty Artist and Curatorial Collective and Kyle Armstrong.


Images from previous installments of Refinery can be found on our Facebook page.

Catch up on our past Refinery programming:

Interface at Refinery | February 9, 2013

The Monstrous Baroque Refinery | November 17, 2012
The Automatiste Refinery | June 23, 2012
Sewing the Heartland | March 24, 2012