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Up-and-coming artists find showcase in Raleigh

Fashion, art, dance and more will collide for a showcase at The Ritz in Raleigh on Thursday.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Fashion, art, dance and more will collide for a showcase at The Ritz in Raleigh on Thursday.
RAW Raleigh presents Connect will feature more than 60 up-and-coming artists, many of whom haven't participated in these quarterly showcases.

"This is the first time I've worked with people who have never done a RAW show before," RAW Raleigh host Kimberlee Blocker said.

RAW was crated by Heidi Luerra, who moved to Los Angeles in 2003 with dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Surrounded by friends hoping to make it into the art, film and music industry, she came up with the idea to create a multi-faceted showcase. The first RAW event was held in 2005 and has since grown to host showcases across the globe.

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Raleigh's quarterly showcases started in 2012 with events at Lincoln Theatre, Blocker said. This is the organization's first event at The Ritz.

Thursday's lineup includes a mix of artists, including Shanitra, who is known for her strong images of black females.

Melvin AC Howell, a 23-year-old performance artist who has choreographed and performed for TV show including "So You Think You Can Dance" and "America's Got Talent," will also be featured.

Lisbeth Carolina Arias, a native of El Salvador who was raised in North Carolina, will bring her fashion line to the show. The N.C. State graduate has worked at several fashion studios including Vera Wang in New York City.

In addition to fashion, music and art, there will also be makeup and hairstylists displaying their work. The diverse field for each showcase has helped the RAW community grow.

Blocker, who has been hosting events for six years, said the friends she has met through the group have helped make the organization a part of her.

Raw Raleigh's Connect is Thursday night at The Ritz, 2820 Industrial Drive in Raleigh. Tickets are $22 in advance and $30 at the door.

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