Let us fill you in. We've got the whole 411 below.
RAW is an international arts organization, for artists by artists. We have no investors and started this all with passion, blood, sweat and elbow grease. We are 100% sustained by ticket sales to our RAW showcases. We are accountable only to our artists; we have no shareholders, board members or venture capitalists in our corner. We built this organization from scratch.
RAW provides a platform for independent artists. Our platform exists both online—through our website and social media—and offline through showcase events (in over 70 cities, internationally).
Our website features artist’s profiles from around the world. It is an online hub where you can discover independent filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, visual artists, performing artists, hair stylists, makeup artists, accessories designers, makers, tech designers, and photographers. Our showcases consist of short film screenings, fashion shows, a pop-up art and photo gallery, performances, hair and makeup shows and accessories vendors.
Artists are hand-selected to participate in RAW (read more on that below). Artists receive an opportunity to showcase and sell their work at these events (to a crowd of people that probably would have never been exposed to it otherwise).
We bring artists to the people, and people to artists. The showcase events aren’t stuffy — they are fun, loud, and colorful and are usually hosted in a music venue. These are alternative venues that accommodate all of the different genres of art that we showcase. We’re not a white wall gallery or Mercedes Benz Fashion Week—nor are we trying to be. We’re RAW and our mission is serve the creative community worldwide. We think outside of the box to provide opportunities for artists to be seen, heard and loved.
IS THERE A FEE TO PARTICIPATE?
Yes; well, kind of. There is a showcase fee to participate in RAW. However, we are aware of the starting artist’s plight and that paying a fee is not always possible. Instead of artists paying out-of-pocket upfront, they are encouraged to sell tickets to the event to make up for the participation costs. Tickets are $22-$25 pre-sale (depending on the market) and £12 in the U.K.
Participating RAW artists commit to selling 20 tickets to the event they are showcasing in. An artist is able to enlist their supporters and network to sponsor their show. Once they have done so, the show costs are completely paid for. Not only does this contribute to the costs of the show’s production, but it helps encourage our artists to promote and, as a result, each show becomes a group effort and helps build an eclectic audience of guests who are all there to support the arts. It creates more exposure for all who are involved.
We have built an online system to help you crowdfund your fee easily. So you technically don’t have to pay anything if you’re willing to put in the work. Most everyone has 20 friends, family members or co-workers that would help support them to be in the show, and they get to attend!
If you don’t sell all of your tickets you simply pay the difference a week before the show and are able to add guests to the list to account for that amount paid.
WHAT DO I RECEIVE AS AN ARTIST?
A ton! Participating RAW artists receive:
- A profile portfolio on RAWartists.org to upload pics, videos, MP3s and more information on yourself and your work. (reserved only for RAW artists)
- Promotion on our localized social media outlets.
- Placement in the RAW Showcase Event (a showcase with 600-1000+ attendees).
- Professional head shots and photos of your work, collection, performance, band or whatever you happen to be presenting (also great for portfolios, social media or websites).
- A free showcase: Once you have showcased in your city and completed your ticket commitment, you can showcase in any other city (within a year of your first showcase) as a Tour Incentive FOR FREE! Yep, we want you to keep your work moving. Have your art seen or heard in Toronto, Austin, Minneapolis, Los Angeles or even Sydney!
- Complimentary admission into any RAW show +1 guest, forever.
- Education: We work really hard to get you advice from the experts on different facets of the creative professional world. Our blog and other programs are places you can educate yourself.
- We have strategic partnerships with organizations, companies and industry players to continue to bring more opportunities to the forefront.
So if you think selling 20 tickets is worth it, we encourage you to sign up!
CAN I SELL MY WORK AT A RAW EVENT?
Yes, please do! We take 0% commission. RAW artists have sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of artwork, accessories, clothing, CDs, and prints at our RAW events.
OK, TOTALLY GET IT. I'M IN! WHAT'S NEXT?
First, make sure that you have submitted here. A RAW team member will review your submission. If we like what we see/hear, you’ll be contacted. You will need to complete a Selected Artist Interview with the RAW representative in your city. If everyone is on the same page and committed we’ll make sure you are officially ‘booked’ into the event and we’ll guide you through the process.
BUT, WHY SHOULD ARTISTS HAVE TO SELL TICKETS?
While we wish everything we need to put on a big beneficial showcase event came free, the reality is, it doesn’t. We pay our staff modest salaries; we provide them with medical benefits (we need them healthy to run great shows); we have venue fees, insurance, equipment rentals, our media crews, production assistants, and the never-ending list of expenses that comes with growing an international network. We would rather have our artists invest in our mission and push it forward, than be accountable to shareholders. So, this is our creative way of making RAW completely for artists, by artists.
WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO SELL TICKETS?
We know that RAW isn’t for everyone. Selling tickets takes dedication and work, just like starting your creative career. You have to know how to ask your supporters for their help. If it’s not your jam, that’s okay.
ARE YOU A NON-PROFIT?
No. When we first started RAW in 2009, we thought it may be a good idea to be a non-profit. However, after art grants continued to be cut down to nothing, we decided we could do more and grow to other communities faster by going our own way. It felt better to spend our time building great showcases instead of throwing fundraising galas to pay our expenses.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ARTIST SUCCESS STORIES?
While we can’t take credit for the years of work an artist might put in before and after meeting RAW, a lot of our artists have told us that RAW has changed their lives and careers for the better. Musicians have been signed, artists have sold work and gained gallery placement, and designers have been sold in stores and have even won Project Runway. We are just happy to be a part of their journey. You can read more about what people say here.