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The Evolution of a Raw Artist

By Briana St. Jacques

A place where you can expand your creativity, converse with other artists for inspiration, or build on your experience and perform, RAW is a thriving company whose mission is “to provide independent artists of all creative genres with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity.” RAW has twenty-one locations across the United States, with Boston as their most recent addition. Every RAW showcase in Boston is hosted at the Estate, 1 Boylston Place. The first RAW show took place in Los Angeles, California, on March 29, 2010. RAW expanded to the Boston area this past summer and expansion has continued. Next year RAW is traveling overseas to reach approximately fifty locations, including Europe. Artists can display their talent through their artwork or in the areas of fashion, music, film, hair and makeup, photography, performing arts, or modeling. Artists can join RAW to get their talent out there. Faith Verrill, the director of Raw in the Boston area, stated, “RAW was founded by Hedi Luerra and Mathew Klahorst in California. The first Boston showcase took place this August.”
Through RAW, artwork can be featured in a showcase, through a professional photo shoot, or on the RAW website. Work may also win RAW rewards. Artists can share their talent with RAW by submitting their work on the website. Then the director carefully picks the best artists for a booking. Faith mentioned, “We create media kits for all our artists, have the film team take a behind-the-scenes video, and take a photo for all the artists. More than five hundred people attended the show on October 13, 2011. Since the media and people in the industry are invited, artists can get a high level of recognition.
RAWards took place on November 17, 2011, at the Estate. The venue came to life with the various artists, and the event attracted many viewers. The voting was completed by stickers. Each artist received a sheet that he or she had to fill with voters’ stickers given to voters when they purchased their tickets. Each sticker represented a different category. By the end of the night it was a close call, and the energy was rising. There were eight winners: Crig Montague for Photographer, Jenny Zigrino for Performance, Nicole Beauchaine for Film, LC Image Consulting Liana Carla for Makeup Artists, Michelle Marie Connolly for Hair, Ria Eaton for Music, Julie Kontos for Fashion Design, and Ryan Severance for Fine Art.
The winners from that showcase are now eligible to go to RAWards in Los Angeles and compete nationally. After the competition in Hollywood, California, the winner is announced and receives recognition through distribution, store placement, studio time, gallery placement, and consultations with industry executives and professionals.
RAWards continues to grow with the expansion of their locations and provide, an opportunity for young artists to get their name and talents out into the world. Artists who do not reach their goals and do not make it into the final competition will still have the opportunity to showcase their talent again: These artists are left with the showcase experience and an advanced portfolio, and they will benefit greatly from the event’s publicity.

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