In 2003, a small-town girl graduated high school and moved to Los Angeles. Heidi Luerra’s only wish was to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a fashion designer. Not wasting any time, she started her own clothing line. She soon realized that she was just one small fish in a very big pond. She sold her pieces at swap meets on the weekends while going to school full-time, working part-time and interning in the fashion district.
After a while she thought … “there’s got to be a better way to get my work out there.”
Surrounded by new friends and talented people in art, music, performance and film that were facing the same plight — she decided to take matters into her own hands.
In 2005, Heidi Luerra threw her first multi-faceted showcase in Los Angeles. Herself and her friends all pitched in a bit of cash to make it happen, essentially crowdfunding their own showcase. After much interest from the community, she found her calling — to create a platform for the many talented budding artists out there.
In 2009, equipped with a mission of bringing tools and resources to artists, RAW was born. After the first RAW event, a local web developer, Matthew Klahorst approached Heidi about combining these art showcases with an online community for artists. From this collaboration came the next evolution of RAW — promoting artists both online and offline.
In 2011, they decided to take the concept beyond Southern California, to the cities across the United States. In July 2012, RAW made its first international debut in Australia. In 2013, RAW opened additional locations in Canada and the UK. Years since its start, RAW is now hosting events and showcasing independent creatives in over 70 cities across the world.
Not stopping there, RAW has also built subsidiaries that continue to benefit the RAW community.
FOUND Agency was launched in 2015, a creative arts agency that brokers large scale paying commission work, creative projects and gigs for RAW artists alum.
In 2016, the annual RAW Film Festival was born, introducing a new underground-style festival that features local LA based short films.
The RAW team launched RAWdio app , a 24-hour streaming music service in 2017. With original content, podcast, comedy, and music all from the RAW community.
Present day, RAW has offices in downtown Los Angeles, Toronto & Sydney with an employee base of over 60 that work full-time to realize the RAW mission.