Hello! We are RAW.

Heidi Luerra

Founder & CEO

"We believe that creativity can change the world and that incubating that idea is the most important thing we can do with our time and energy."

Executive

Courtney Austin

Event License Program Director

Licensees

Michelle Bylow

Director of Canada Events

Pepe Cuervo

Director of Mexico Events

Radnaut Prints

Director of Phoenix Events

Sarah Pickard

Director of Tampa Events

Our RAW History

2003

Fresh out of high school and new to Los Angeles, small-town NorCal native, Heidi Luerra starts a clothing line. As she tries her best to market and sell her collection of interchangeable trim tops she quickly realizes that there is no outlet that fits her needs.

Tired of setting up at swap meets, she dreams up a creative event that could gain attention for underground artists of all stripes.

2005

A couple years later she rallies some talented friends, who each pitch in a bit of money and a whole lot of heart.

In 2005 Heidi hosts her first fashion, music and arts showcase to a packed house.

Though she didn't see anything beyond the first showcase, the hunger for the opportunity was real. A few years and a handful of showcases later she realizes that helping artists is her calling. She lays her clothing line to rest to build the platform she wishes she had when she was starting out.

2009

RAW opens its doors for the first time in Downtown Los Angeles. The showcase features one artist per creative category in film, fashion, music, visual art, photography, performance art, hairstyling, makeup artistry, and accessories.

Matthew Klahorst, a local web developer is in attendance at the first event. He has some bright ideas on creating an online platform for artists. Chatting over the following months revealed that Heidi & Matt make a good team. They decide to combine their efforts, merging both an online & offline community for artists.

By the end of the year, RAW is hosting showcases in Orange County, Santa Monica & Hollywood on a monthly basis.

2010

The RAW team decides to try their hand at launching the platform further from home in San Francisco & San Diego. After being well received in both new cities, the RAW team thinks even bigger and plans for a nationwide launch in 17 additional cities. Why shouldn’t the whole nation of artists have an opportunity to be seen, heard & loved?

In December 2010, the RAW team packs up a rental van and drives across the country to meet indie artists and introduce RAW to each new community from coast to coast.

They also film a [really embarrassing] documentary about it, called RAWcross America. No need to look it up.

2011

From a small sublet office in Orange County, deemed RAW Headquarters, RAW's now team of 3 opens doors in 17 major metropolitan cities across the United States.

RAW launches the Tour Incentive Program, allowing artists to travel within the RAW network and perform or present in a city outside of their hometown without a ticket requirement.

2012

After an inquiry from Aussie Kristen Wehlow, an art lover and event producer from Brisbane, Queensland, pops up on RAW's Facebook page, the RAW team begins chatting logistics about bringing the new concept down under!

In the summer of 2012, RAW Australia opens its doors for the first time to a sold out showcase. Today, RAW Australia has an office in Sydney, led by the same FB messenger, Kristen Wehlow. RAW Australia hosts showcases in 10 cities across the country.

RAW introduces the RAWdio podcast, an online forum where RAW artists are interviewed about their creative journeys and upcoming showcases.

Hosted by Jesse F. Daniels, the podcast produces hundreds of episodes. Later, RAWdio evolves into a 24-hour music streaming service and most recently, the Spotlight Spotify Playlist features RAW musicians from around the world.

2013

RAW continues to bring the RAW mission to more U.S. cities and tops the year with 32 showcase locations. RAW also reaches a new milestone of 50,000 artists in the RAW community around the globe!

RAW launches in Vancouver, BC & Montréal, QE taking the organization into Canada for the first time. Today, Canada hosts showcases in over 10 Canadian cities and is led by Michelle Bylow,a fashion designer and former gallery owner.

As if that weren't enough for the year, RAW moves out of their O.C. sublet and back to the city where it all started, DTLA! They pick up the keys to their first official solo office and hire 10 new RAW family members, making them a team of 15.

2014

RAW reaches 50 cities across the United States, Canada & Australia, making it the largest independent arts organization in the world!

2015

RAW starts FOUND Agency to connect RAW artists with large-scale creative projects. FOUND connects RAW artists with paying gigs and opportunities in the corporate world to further their careers. Presently, FOUND Agency has helped create murals, custom artwork, events and photo shoots for corporate clients nationwide.

2016

Lead by Nick Night, the RAW Film Festival is born in Echo Park, showcasing independent filmmaker shorts inspired by Los Angeles & beyond.

RAW introduces the RAW Artist Promotions Program allowing artists to earn money by going above and beyond when promoting their showcase event. In the past 3-ish years, RAW has paid independent artists $500k and counting!

2017

RAW is officially open as a platform for emerging artists in 70 cities around the world!

2018

RAW launches Industry Exchange, a monthly live stream on social media that helps educate artists about the business side of their work.

RAW launches in Mexico City for the first time, led by native actor and art enthusiast, Jose Cuervo.

2019

RAW turned a decade old on March 12, 2019. At the close of 2019, over 200k artists have become part of the RAW family and over half a million art supporters have walked through RAW showcase doors. RAW has produced over 1,500 showcases in 80+ parts of the globe with countless opportunities, connections and sales made. The global RAW team had offices in downtown Los Angeles, Sydney, Toronto & Mexico City.

The RAW family was made up of over 80 team members internationally who worked full time on RAW’s mission: to provide tools, resources, exposure & education for artists everywhere.

2020

On March 12, 2020 (on RAW’s 11th birthday) the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 brought RAW showcases and operations to a screeching halt. Soon after, all offices were closed in anticipation of the long recovery. The team produced The National Arts Drive together before pausing all operations for over a year.

Having weathered the storm, on December 1, 2020, RAW announced its plans to return to market in 2021.

2021

In Summer 2021, RAW launched PLATFORM by RAW Artists, a License program that allows for independent creative entrepreneurs to own and operate their own RAW showcase locations using RAW’s proprietary technology and industry experience.

In an effort to aid in the recovery of the independent arts community, the team once again went back to their core mission; we’re stronger together than we are apart, opening the RAW concept, tools and resources to vetted licensees everywhere.

We believe we’re stronger together than we are apart. Communities and networks coming together provide a better basis for success than what we can garner independently.

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