Refinery at the Art Gallery of Alberta

Two weeks ago, the Art Gallery of Alberta hosted their second Refinery Late Night Art Party, a new series of events with music, food and drinks aimed at making art more accessible for the “next gen” set. I love the idea, particularly because I think the gallery space, with such a fantastic location, is underutilized in the evening hours. And, really, who doesn’t love a good party?


In place of a welcome sign

Mack was offered two free tickets in exchange for twittering during the event – a fair request, and one he happily accepted. We arrived promptly at 8pm, then realized it was one of those functions where it was chic to be fashionably late. On the bright side, it meant we had ample time to explore the exhibits before the other guests arrived, and had the gallery spaces mostly to ourselves.


Perfect night to enjoy the terrace

Each Refinery party is themed around one of the current gallery exhibitions – this one highlighted The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons, which will be displayed until October 11, 2010. Related activities included: the opportunity to contribute to a film reel, which would be screened later that night; a lecture from artist Josh Holinaty, who had created fun “ACME pocket companions”; an improv show out on the terrace featuring Rapid Fire Theatre’s Amy Shostak and Arlen Konopaki; and amusing condiment portraits with Sarah Jackson, one of our favourite local designers (she was a trooper, drawing non-stop for several hours).


Working on the collective film reel


Amy Shostak and Arlen Konopaki, improvisers extraordinaire


Sarah hard at work

We even had our photo taken in front of a Warner Bros. backdrop, complete with props!


In our own cartoon

ZINC Catering took care of everyone with non-stop trays of food. We were a little aghast at the constant flow of servers who doled out over a dozen appetizers. Most were variations of crostini, but there were some other interesting bites, including rabbit and wild boar patés, and a jicama slaw. The best food item of the night was hands down the ice cream bar – it was difficult to choose between chocolate, strawberry, and strawberry banana flavours, so I took one for the team and sampled all of them (strawberry won out).


Caramelized onion and goat cheese crostini


Jicama salad

Though tickets were on the pricey side ($55, and $45 for AGA Ultra members), between the food and drink, opportunity to view the exhibits and added entertainment, I think it works out to be a pretty good deal. I’ll definitely consider attending the next Refinery party, slated for November 20, 2010.


The crowd after dark

Thanks to the AGA for the tickets and to the organizers for a great night!

You can read Mack’s recap here, and see our photoset here.

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