RAW Artists' Group Launches in Miami With Graffiti, Fashion, and Tattoos

Categories: Art, Culture
Performance artist stay sea love is one of 30 artists featured at The Blend tomorrow.
Get ready, hipsters! Tomorrow, RAW makes its Miami debut. No, we're not talking about professional wrestling. (We learned our lesson on that subject already.) This RAW is kind of like the Avengers, only without the superpowers, assassin-level fighting skills, and flying armored suits. Which is to say, it's a collection of interesting, freaky people out to make the world a better place.

RAW is a nationwide society of painters, musicians, fashion designers, make-up artists, hair stylists, tattoo artists, photographers, jewelry makers, graffiti artists, and other talented creative types. And Wednesday from 8 p.m. to midnight, as many as 30 such artists belonging to RAW's newly created local chapter will show their stuff at The Stage, during a cocktail attire event organizers describe as "The Blend."

RAW was founded by Heidi Luerra out of necessity and desperation. A recent high school graduate from a small California town, Luerra journeyed to Los Angeles in 2003 with the intention of starting her own children's clothing line. Unfortunately, there was so much competition that her work wasn't noticed. So, in 2005, Luerra teamed up with her other artist friends and threw her first art show. More than 750 people showed up.

And that is when the idea hit her: She would start an organization named after uncooked meat in all capital letters that will provide artists of all kinds in the first 10 years of their career with the resources they need to expose their work to a wider audience via the web and various events. In 2009, RAW officially set up in Los Angeles. By the summer of 2011, RAW spread beyond its Southern California confines into 32 other cities around the United States. Today RAW operates in 50 cities. By July 2012, RAW will have a presence in 62 American cities and Australia. And assuming the Mayan prophecies aren't true, RAW will launch in China and Europe in 2013.

Leading the RAW empire's conquest of Miami is public relations professional Rosana Emanuelli. "My responsibility is to find great artists to represent Miami," she says. Emanuelli also helps judge who is worthy to become part of a RAW event by sifting through artists' online applications. "We hand-select artists for each monthly event," she says.

After that, it is kind of like being part of the Girl Scouts, except instead of selling cookies, artists sell tickets to obtain their merit badges. "[Advance] tickets are $10, and we use those proceeds to produce the event and do promotions, videos, and interviews," Emanuelli says. If an artist manages to sell 20 tickets, they can participate in any RAW event in the nation without selling a single ticket, she adds.

Those who attend a RAW event can expect to hear plenty of music of various genres, see a few fashion shows, gaze upon visually stimulating artwork, and perhaps witness a few body-painting sessions. "It is going to be a little bit of everything," Emanuelli says. "Every artist is completely different."

To get an idea how different each artist will be, log on to rawartists.org/miami/theblend. For more information on RAW itself, log on to rawartists.org. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

--Erik Bojnansky

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

Location Info


The Stage

170 NE 38th St., Miami, FL

Category: Music



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