On March 12, 2020, my company, RAW Artists was poised to celebrate our eleventh birthday, instead, we sent 50 employees home on furlough. Then , we postponed all of our upcoming arts showcase events, and two months later we're prepping for the inevitable long pause before we can return to hosting our multifaceted arts showcase events for independent artists around the globe.
As the world’s largest independent arts organization, our mission for over a decade has been to provide tools, resources, education, and exposure for independent creatives everywhere. And there has never been a greater time than now, to double down on that mission.
According to a recent survey, 64% of artists and creative workers are unemployed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, and 95% reported losing revenue as a result of the pandemic. In addition to these staggering job loss numbers, opportunities for artists and creatives to be seen, heard, and supported through events, gigs, showcases, markets, and tours have vanished completely, almost overnight. And with no definitive date that we can pinpoint for a return, the creative community as a whole is hurting.
As a creative events platform, we’re wounded too. But these are not the times to roll over and give up! These are the times to stand firm in your values and act in service with the resources you have available to you. With a small skeleton crew over the past month, our team put our heads and hearts together to figure out how we could help. And here’s what we’ve got:
On Saturday, June 20, 2020, we’re calling all artists, performers, musicians and makers nationwide, RAW Artists or not, to join us in a massive movement we’ve titled The National Arts Drive.
We’re calling on artists everywhere (RAW Artists or not) to perform, showcase, and display their work on front lawns, driveways, balconies, windows sills, or from the front of a participating local business (where safe and applicable). This movement is an effort to raise both awareness and financial support specifically for, and directly to, the artists of our generation that have been deeply impacted by this global pandemic.
While we appreciate the virtual world and all that it provides, we also know that nothing compares to a real-life art experience.So in addition, we’re also inviting the community to take a drive through their city blocks and suburban streets to see and hear the vibrant creativity that is living within their own neighborhoods. But, not only to enjoy the sights and sounds of our creative culture but to also directly support local artists through a socially distanced touch-free digital map that our web team here at RAW has built.
During the driving experience, "Drivers" will be able to donate to artists from a distance as they approach installations and performances. They will also be able to engage with participating artists on social media and/or visit their online shops for future purchases.This is a completely free community and artist experience. There are no fees to register on the map and no ticket sales necessary for Drivers. All donations from the public go directly to participating artists.
Our RAW team is producing this movement across 10 major US cities, as well as select locations in Canada and Mexico, however, we're open to accepting ambassadors for other cities, towns or countries.
In 2009, I started RAW from my kitchen table with only a few certainties, that creativity deserves to be seen, heard, and supported. We’re stronger together than we will ever be apart.
I’m calling on the creative community to come together across borders, boundaries and mediums to speak up and show just how powerful the arts can be. And I'm asking the community to stand for the notion that supporting and incubating our creative culture is a necessary and important part of preserving it.
Artists can sign-up and drop their map marker @ www.NationalArtsDrive.com
Written by Heidi Luerra
In 2008, Heidi started her own production company, Heidi Luerra Productions. HLP planned and produced corporate and private events. She shut down a street adjacent Melrose Ave. for a fashion show, hosted a 100% eco-friendly-run battle of the DJs, and coordinated talent at the official Grammy after party. Under the umbrella of HLP, Heidi launched RAW:natural born artists. Taking all the experience and know-how she had acquired from her past projects, she designed a showcase where she could again aid and support independent creatives showcase, share and sell their work.
In Fall 2019, Heidi authored and published her first ever book, The Work of Art: A No-Nonsense Field Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs. The Work of Art became an Amazon bestseller and a #1 hottest new release in the Business of Art category for over a month after its release.
You can find Heidi's full story on her website.
WANT TO WRITE FOR US?