The Amazing Velvet Experience

Friday May 5, 2017

Black Velvet Elvis

Starting with a feature presentation about the history of black velvet art, followed by live music, a nacho station, churros, cocktails and art adventures, this party will be a celebration of retro kitsch. Whether you wear your latest high-fashion ensemble or break out the velour and bellbottoms, dress to impress.

Party favours: every ticket buyer will go home with a velvety treasure! Party guests will be randomly matched with their very own black velvet painting, to be taken home at the end of the night. Which one will be yours? Some might be considered velvet masterpieces, all are guaranteed to be a hilarious keepsake from an excellent night out.


$75 (on sale April 1)
Purchase tickets


The Amazing Origin Story

For one night only, witness the most black velvet paintings you may ever see in one place. One Glenbow gallery will be filled from floor to ceiling with 200 velvet paintings - the best of the collection of Rick Smith, one of the world's premiere velvet collectors. Rick has a history of sharing his collection with the world - for years he hosted annual Cinco de Mayo parties to show off his collection. Now, Rick has decided to set his collection free, and is giving his paintings away to benefit Glenbow.

Rick Smith has been collecting black velvet paintings since 2001, amassing over 400 from garage sales and pawn shops around Alberta, starting with a velvet Elvis. The collection began as a hobby to distract him from a personal health crisis, and became an obsession that led to Rick "rescuing" as many of the painting as he could find.

The lure and the lore and the thrift-store score: learn more about black velvet paintings

You've seen them in vintage stores, garage sales and kitsch-filled basements. Perhaps you've even coveted one of these sensuous depictions of Elvis, Jesus, clowns, matadors, panthers, bandits, pin-ups or big-eyed children. Here are some links to take you down the rabbit hole of velvets:

The world renowned Velveteria in Portland is a privately owned museum with over 3,000 black velvet paintings

Collectors will pay thousands of dollars for a work by Edgar William Leeteg, an American painter often considered the father of American velvet painting:

Velvet Underdogs: In Praise of the Paintings the Art World Loves to Hate

130 9th Ave S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 0P3

Located in the heart of the Calgary downtown core between Stephen Avenue and the Olympic Plaza
Cultural District.

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