The Columbus art scene gained a new creative outlet Wednesday through RAW Columbus, a monthly artist showcase that debuted more than 20 artists in the Short North Arts District’s own Skully’s Music Diner.
RAW is an international organization for independent artists to network and showcase their artwork in one venue, said RAW Columbus showcase director, Dayna Melton.
In the state of Ohio, Cincinnati, Cleveland and most recently Columbus, have established this network for artists pursuing visual art, film, fashion, music, hair and makeup artistry, photography, modeling and performing art, Melton said.
“RAW is a creative circus, a place where we bring together all types of artists,” Melton said.
The artists were arranged in a gallery-style format throughout the two-story venue, with space for tables to display their craft. Metal fences, used to establish booths, displayed the wide array of visual artwork showcased at the first RAW Columbus event.
RAW Columbus host Tim Fulton guided patrons through the night. DJ Moxy delivered the music interspersed between the RAW music acts, The Upstart and Ryan Smith. The event’s stage acts were concluded with a fashion show put on by the RAW Columbus-featured fashion designers and makeup artists.
Fulton, known for his hosting experience at trivia nights and weddings in and around the city, is contracted through the end of the year as the official host of RAW Columbus.
“I look forward to seeing the diverse range of work in Columbus (through RAW),” Fulton said.
Ashley and Andrew Lee, artist couple and proprietors of Arrowood, a home decor company, were approached by RAW through Instagram soon after the launch, Ashley Lee said.
The Lees work together to create custom wood creations using wood, nails and yarn as mediums. At the showcase, the Lees displayed wood creations with yarn forming the state of Ohio, an anchor and a deer head silhouette.
Ashley Lee said Arrowood sells through Simply Vague, a retailer at Polaris Parkway, and Royal Factory, a boutique located off of Fifth Avenue and High Street.
Lara Alsoudani, another artist a part of the RAW showcase, also creates custom pieces using wood as one of her mediums, but her business, Kokoshae, specializes in designing accessories. Alsoudani and her fiancé, Alfredo Weeks, create necklaces and earrings using different types of wood and brightly colored, ethnic-inspired fabrics that are imported from Washington D.C.
“The whole essence is the balance between contemporary and traditional,” Alsoudani said.
Alsoudani said all of her pieces are custom made unless a customer requests a duplicate.
Artist Kasey Winterbotham said she first heard about RAW while living in San Antonio. Winterbotham had to drop out of her first RAW showcase because of her relocation to Athens, Ohio, and was excited by the opportunity to participate in the first RAW Columbus showcase.
“I really like that it is run by artists and they understand what artists need,” Winterbotham said.
Showcase director Melton has been involved with RAW for six months and first started out as a RAW artist before joining the team as the showcase director for Columbus. Melton can relate to the artists, she said, because she is one.
“We are looking for serious artists who are looking to gain experience,” Metlon said.
RAW Columbus plans to feature up to 40 artists in the upcoming showcases and always has open submissions, Melton said.
The next RAW showcase in Columbus is set for March 26 at Skully’s, located at 1151 N. High St.