An artistic collaboration founded in Los Angeles has generated more than 60 franchises throughout the country and is spreading around the world. Sarah Faragalla, 31, of St. Louis officially launched the local initiative in July.
The first of the regular Raw: St. Louis showcases will take place from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m Thursday, Aug. 16 at the Coliseum, 2619 Washington Avenue. See images by Peter Wochniak from the St. Louis introduction of Raw here, flickr.com/photos/rawartists.
A native of Eureka, Faragalla also works as the stylist and coordinator for St. Louis Fashion Week.
How did you become director of Raw:St. Louis?
SF: After Mia (her daughter Mia Fleurys, 10 months) was born, I continued traveling to Los Angeles and New York City for work (as an art director in the music video/commercial industry), but decided when she was 6 months old to look for something that would keep me in one place. Since my family is here, I wanted that place to be St. Louis.
I put some key words into an online job search and this position came up. Raw Headquarters had been interviewing for the job for four months. The director in each city is pretty much a one-person show, so unless RAW is completely confident in who they find, they won’t launch a new city.
Is it surprising that St. Louis has such a sizable arts scene?
SF: I really love and believe in this city and was confident I'd find a flourishing art scene. What’s blown me away has been the immense quality of the artists I’m finding.
What do you want the artists to get out of participating in Raw?
SF: Beyond the tools and opportunities we give our artists – the media package, exposure, ability to showcase at any Raw event in the country, eligibility for (Raw's Annual Indie Awards Show), etc. I want the artists to take full advantage of the event - bring their best work, showcase it in the most interesting and interactive way, and feed off the collective energy and excitement generated by the other artists and the crowd.
What do you want audiences to get out of attending?
SF: Beyond being entertained, I want the audience to be truly inspired by the night and take note of the amazing talent right here in their community. I want them to love and support these local artists the way the entire Raw community and I do.
If you have a big event coming up, buy a dress you see coming down the runway. If you’ve been looking for new music, pick up a CD from the featured band. If you’ve got that blank wall at home, fill with a piece of original artwork.
What's your goal for each month’s showing?
SF: My goal is to find at least 20 artists in the areas of film, fashion, music, visual art, photography, hair styling, makeup artistry, and performance art that represent the highest quality emerging artists in those respective genres.
What are you considering as you curate each month's artists?
SF: When I’m curating a show, I’m looking for not just talent, but ‘WOW factor!’ I’m looking for unique, strong voices. I’m also looking for diversity and variety in each showcase. I consider the submissions that come into the site, but I also go out into the community to find talent. Being a showcase director for Raw means being part treasure hunter, part ringleader!
Why is it better to showcase so may different artists rather than just one or two?
SF: I think it creates such a stimulating, excitement packed night to showcase several artists instead of just a couple. It’s kind of like ordering a bunch of appetizers and desserts. Who wants a single entree when that’s an option! One of the greatest comments I overheard at our debut event was, “The night’s not moving fast enough, I can’t wait to see what’s next!’
What's your personal motto?
SF: Design the life you dream of! Approach your life like you would a space or an outfit. Surround yourself with people and things you love. Fill your world with beauty and meaning and take chances. Do things that scare you. If something doesn’t work, switch it out with something that does!