From knitting needles to cocktail dresses, we take you inside Refinery, Edmonton’s late-night art party!

Photography by Harvey Miedreich

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We know you’ve been anxiously awaiting the next cycle of Refinery, the late-night art party held under the stars at Edmonton’s Art Gallery of Alberta, ever since we covered this Movember night out, and we’re excited to deliver!

Selling out to AGA members before tickets even reached the public, well over 800 ultra-stylish guests came out to a bash that was right up our alley, themed “Sewing the Heartland,” to coincide with the Alberta Mistresses of the Modern 1935-1975 exhibit, which runs until the beginning of June.

Creative director Jessica Kennedy (owner of former Whyte Avenue boutique, Nokomis, meaning “grandmother” in Ojibwa) planned quilting, knitting and button-making stations throughout two of the four floors and seven exhibits, as well as a Project Runway–style fashion competition (where I joined the panel as a judge), and several photographic displays paying homage to the resourceful, creative, capable women before us: our grandmothers.

But don’t let any conservative granny-connotations fool you; the night was anything but old-fashioned. This modern space, with its sweeping, steel ribbon ceilings and grand, winding staircases pulls in the coolest crowd in the city every few months with a fresh concept, cocktails, cotton candy (this time), and a dance party till the early hours of the morning, induced (this time) by local band Amy Van Keeken’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Singalong.

One can only imagine the summertime fun that will be had when it’s warm enough to step onto the AGA’s rooftop terrace…