Sat 8/17 @ 8pm
As RAW Cleveland prepares for its next large-scale group showcase, En Masse (its first since its successful re-launch), its main organizer, Jacqueline DelBrocco, took time out of her very busy schedule to help clear up exactly what this unique event is — and what it isn’t.
RAW’s last showcase, Expressions, was so successful that I personally witnessed the fire marshal show up to count heads. The line to get in was around the block at one point, and I had to wait almost half an hour to get in. The show was very exciting, but it was clear that the space was maxed out. As a result of the huge crowd, organizers have secured a new venue — The “World Famous” Cleveland Agora!
The Agora is the most ideal venue for this eclectic showcase. As Jacqueline DelBrocco explains, “I’m so excited to be hosting our next event at the Agora. Over the years, so much talent has emerged from this historical Cleveland landmark. I really can’t think of a better venue to showcase fresh, new underground talent in our city.”
The unique physical qualities of the various rooms throughout the Agora make it a highly-adaptable venue for such a diverse show. En Masse will feature over 40 local artists from visual arts, film, fashion, music, hair/makeup, photography, performing art and more. RAW’s latest event will showcase four original live music acts, five runway shows featuring fashion/hair/makeup, a short film screening, a performance art piece, a live painting, a dance performance with an LED hula hoop and over 20 local visual artists.
DelBrocco explains the complications of promoting such an unusual event:
“It’s been a challenge marketing this concept to the public because it’s so new to our area – everyone is unfamiliar with the idea. It’s not easy to sell tickets to people who really have no idea what they’re buying a ticket for. Even my closest family members and friends said to me during the last show ‘Why didn’t you tell me it was going to be like THIS?!’
“I can say ‘live music, live fashion, live art’ as many times as I want, but until people see it all come together in person, it’s impossible to communicate the energy and excitement that truly makes this a one of a kind experience. With a completely different group of artists in each showcase, every event is guaranteed to be completely different! And when you bring this many artists together in one place with this much talent, great things are sure to happen.
“One thing I want to be clear about to everyone is what RAW is, and what RAW is not trying to PRETEND it is… I know this isn’t a white wall gallery or a studio opening… it’s a totally different kind of show. It’s a production. You’re not just buying a ticket to an art show. You’re buying a ticket to a showcase where you will be entertained by a thoroughly planned out stage production amidst a pop up gallery of local artwork and live artwork creation. I’m not saying it’s better or worse than a gallery opening… just totally different. It’s like comparing my mom’s eggplant parmesan to a cotton candy blizzard… both are food, both are delicious, but it’s just not the same category. If you still have no clue what I’m talking about, please come out and see for yourself!”
Indeed, the presentation is as “raw” as the talent (art is hung on metal fencing and lit with clip lamps), but the move to the Agora will contextualize the character at the heart of these events. For many of these artists it’s their first chance for exposure. This collective passion of so many different types of creative people is contagious, and, in bringing them together, RAW creates very unique and exciting events. RAW Cleveland’s showcases have the ability to create an excitement that seems more like a rock concert than an art exhibition. In this way, the Agora is the perfect venue.
It’s certainly not for everyone. Anyone expecting a formal art exhibition may be confused, but it’s certain to be an exciting night for everyone involved. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. It’s a steep price for an art show, but it’s very reasonable for a show at the Agora. It’s less than 50 cents per artist. Further, this is an opportunity to support and encourage young artists at a very fragile time in their career. Without encouragement early on, many passionate young artists get discouraged and/or scared and find “real” jobs. So come out and show your support for these young, local artists and their dreams.
[Pictured; top to bottom: dance performance by Jennifer Dennehy, visual art by Mario Tripp, fashion by Alicia Hunter, and the band Sound People]
RAW Cleveland presents En Masse on Sat 8/17 @ the Agora, 5000 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44103. Doors at 8pm. $15 presale/$20 at the door (can be purchased at http://RAWartists.org/cleveland) For more info: Jacqueline DelBrocco, Cleveland Showcase Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or (440) 773-7809.
Josh Usmani is a 27 year old local artist, curator and writer. Since 2008, his work has been featured in over 50 local and regional exhibitions.