Illawarra creatives shine at RAW showcase

The first season of the RAW showcase events in Wollongong has drawn to a close, with the local edition comfortably settled alongside sister events in more than 60 global cities.

Launched in Los Angeles in 2009, RAW has spread across the world, hosting regular multi-faceted shows in a wide array of mediums from art and music to dance, make-up and film.

August marked the first RAW event in Wollongong, with more than 800 people and 30 artists turning out for the Elevation showcase at the Town Hall.

"We weren't sure how Wollongong would embrace the concept, but the first show far exceeded expectations, from the quality of artists to interest from the audience," said showcase director Sharn Hammond.

"We hoped some artists would have ongoing benefits, commissions and hiring services, and they absolutely have. Artists have said they've never sold so much at any markets or exhibits."

Burlesque dancers, hair stylists, musicians, performance artists, painters, photographers and more turned out for the handful of local RAW showcases, with nine artists selected to represent the region in the national RAW Awards in Brisbane next month.

"It was great for something like RAW to come along, where you can showcase whatever it is that you do," said burlesque performer Aurora Night, who was named winner of the Wollongong performing art category.

"Most of the art forms are niche and have their own fans. With RAW, you have a chance to showcase whatever work you have, and show it to people who might not normally go along to see it."

Ms Hammond said she was pleased with how the RAW concept had been embraced in Wollongong and said plans were well under way to return to the area in 2014.

"We've had lots of interest from industry professionals, designers and photographers from Sydney who came down to see what talent is here," she said.

"A lot of artists in fashion and performing arts move to Sydney because there's not as many outlets and forums for them down here. It's really nice to give local designers and artists that opportunity."

The next RAW event, titled Pixels, will be held on January 31 at Wollongong Town Hall.

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