Why would you want art that is picked, practiced and packaged, contrived and cooked to appeal to masses?
Wouldn't you rather have it RAW?
"RAW: natural born artists" is an independent arts organization, for artists, by artists. I know, because that's what it says at the organization's website.
"We're a community made up of creative individuals across the nation," it states. "Our mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity."
RAW operates in 54 cities across the U.S. and Australia. And we are lucky enough to be among them.
Tonight, RAW Pittsburgh presents "Marvel," a showcase of 27 artists from independent film, fashion, music, visual art, performing art, hairstylists, makeup artists and more. The event, beginning at 8 p.m. at Cavo in the Strip District, is more than an exhibit. It's an experience.
"We do this once a month," said Leigh Yock, who serves as showcase director. "It provides a platform for emerging and established artists. For the most part, everybody that we showcase is from Pittsburgh.
"Sometimes we have RAW alumni from other cities come in and show in our city. It's a great way for artists to be more mobile. They can jump from city to city to show their art in new markets. That's why the national element is very cool."
Ms. Yock, 30, of Friendship, studied business, journalism and marketing while earning degrees from West Virginia University and Point Park University. An art collector more than an artist, she started her own company -- Nakturnal -- which helps support artists through marketing, corporate sponsorships and event planning.
She and her staff -- including Ryah Issa and Kyle Anthony Adams -- launched RAW Pittsburgh in February, and tonight will be their third event.
"At the beginning, it's more us finding them because it's still new," she said of the lineup they've brought together for tonight. "Right now, I'd say we sought out about 60 percent of them and 40 percent were submissions. But I think, as time goes on, that will flop."
Those who attend will not only see art displayed, they will see it created.
"At any given event, you will see a fashion show or two, a musical performance or two, a film screening, a popup art gallery, and at least one performance art piece," Ms. Yock said. "As well as hair and makeup artists who are associated with the fashion show, but then come out and show how they create. Visual artists have their own areas so they can hang their work, and some of them choose to do live paintings. There's sculptural and glass work."
Fortunately, you won't get lost amid the creativity as masters of ceremony Knowledge Build and Kellee Maize guide you through the evening.
You're probably wondering about the performance artist. Well, her name is Serotonin. She moves and poses while suspended by silk.
"I just cannot wait to get my feet off the ground and my body in motion," she says in a website post. "The rush from the danger and the encouragement from the crowd has kept me climbing, dancing, and performing for four years. When in need of inspiration I look to my hula hoop and fire fans. Glad to have moved to Pittsburgh in 2010. You can find me performing burlesque for local events and music shows."
OK, you can't buy her for display in your living room, but there will be much that you can purchase.
"We hope that people come, have fun, enjoy the event, but also consider buying," Ms. Yock said. "At the end of the day, this is all about the artists. We want them to make money or at least walk away with future opportunities, whether it be gallery bookings or a booking at a music venue."
There is no theme to the event. All the artists are unique.
"We do try to make it seasonal in terms of fashion," Ms. Yock said. "We tried in February, but coordinating 20 to 30 artists is enough, in and of itself, and it's very beautiful as it is.
"It's an incredible opportunity. A lot of fun and great for the community and great for the artists involved. I'm sure we'll continue to keep doing it as long as everyone enjoys it."
Cavo is a restaurant/lounge/nightclub located at 1916 Smallman St., and there is a $15 admission.
If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at email@example.com or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/