SS on the Scene: 4th Annual 2012 Indie Arts RAWards Philadelphia

Syreeta on the Scene / November 20, 2012

If you’re like me, and love the arts, then hopefully you’ve had the chance to experience all of the wonderful exhibits and art-based organizational events that Philly has to offer.

Organizations such as RAW: natural born artists fulfill nearly every artistic taste that one could possess. On Thursday, November 15th, RAW Philly held its  4th Annual 2012 Indie Arts RAWards Philadelphia at G Lounge in Center City. Each year RAW hosts a national competition that runs from October-December. It consists of: “an online vote, a RAW Director’s score, a semi-finals showcase with local judges and an attendee vote” with a final national judges score to determine the winner. In January, the winners are honored in Los Angeles and receive “big career boosting prizes”.

Those of us in attendance at the RAWards Semi-Finals here in Philly were asked to contribute our votes (via a sticker placement on their score sheet) to determine which one of the 3-5 artist in each of the nine categories would be awarded “artist of the year”. The categories were: visual arts, fashion designer, accessories designer, filmmaker, hair stylist, makeup artist, musician, performing artist and photographer. In addition to our vote, a local panel of judges also contributed their scores to determine which artists will go on to represent our city in the final round to be viewed and scored by the National RAWards Judges.

(For more information on how it all works, visit the RAWards online portal:

If you’ve never been to a RAWards it’s definitely worth the experience. Everything from painted faces to naked women in pictures to animal carcasses turned into jewelry can be found there. In fact at the last showcase, I purchased a pair of earrings from Bullet Babe that were made from bullet shell casings and raccoon penis.

Ha! Talk about a conversation starter!

There were 37 artists total who showcased their work on the runway and in the sections designated for the various art forms. One of the musicians whom I enjoyed was Gonz x The Burgeoning. Check out a snippet of their performance below:

I was beyond excited for the accessories section after seeing that there would be footwear presented by JPratt in the showcase. JPratt’s shoes–for both men and women–were met with round of ooohh’s and awww’s. The audience chattered among themselves about his use of sequin and feathers; and for those who follow me on Instagram you  know that you all seemed to love the black and sequined shoe with black feather embellishment. Check out some of the footage:


Another runner up in the Accessories category was Ella Kolanowska. Her colorful, knitted and crocheted jewelry made one hell of a statement and truly blurred the lines between jewelry and clothing (as noted in her RAW profile). The audience, as well as the judges, must of really loved it because she went on to win in her category.

In the midst of taking in all of the wonderful art, attendees also got the chance to sip cocktails and network.

I took advantage of both…of course.

Chroma Dolls garnered a lot of buzz and served as a great conversation piece. No wonder they won the Visual Artist category.

Visual arts artists such as Chroma Dolls and Vanity really struck my eye. Chroma Dolls is comprised of two talented female artists, Kala Hagopian and Ali Williams, whose resume includes work with The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, The Youth Violence Reduction Partnership, Sobriety Through Out-Patient, JEVS Human Services, The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, and Horizon House.

Vanity Sabelnik and her self-titled work makes use of “Swarovski Crystals, fabrics, embellishments [and] various realistic materials”–essentially anything that sparkles. A former model, Vanity describes her work as, “captivating glitz and sultry glamour”. Check out her RAW interview here:


Photographer Derek Brad‘s keen eye for capturing epic moments at concert performances also captured my eye. S/o to Rhyme Street as well–I didn’t know he did some work with you love!


The night overall, was beyond enjoyable–as long as you could manage to deal with all of the people that packed the place. The finalist have been announced so you can check them out here and be sure to keep an eye out for the announcement of the winners (done via video) on December 3rd, 2012.

A special thank you again to Fred Calalang for the invite. You and the RAW Philly team worked your asses off and it all came together beautifully!

– Sincerely Syreeta

P.S.: RAW Philly’s December showcase titled “Holiday RAWk” takes place on December 13th, 2012 from 8:00 p.m.- 12:00 a.m.. Get the details [and your $10 tickets] online by clicking here.

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