Keeping it ‘RAW’ at Cherch Lounge

In Art, Arts & Entertainment
Photo by Charles Purnell

Last Thursday, artists and patrons gathered at Cherch Lounge in downtown Fullerton to celebrate a night packed full of vision and creativity. The exhibition was hosted by RAW: Natural Born Artist, a group that holds monthly art showcases in downtown Fullerton as a way for the creative community to come together and express themselves through various forms of entertainment. Lindsey Biundo, event producer for RAW and a Cal State Fullerton alumna, brought the event to life by gathering a diverse group of RAW artists to show off their many talents for the community.

“This RAW event was a great way to get all different types of artists together so that they can express themselves creatively,” said Biundo. “These types of showcases are a great alternative to the downtown bar scene, where there is something for everyone.” Biundo’s event brought together painters, directors, comedians, musicians and hair and fashion designers to entertain the crowd, which only got larger throughout the night.

Cherch Lounge, the restaurant and bar that the RAW event was held at, was decked out for the artist exhibition. Plush red couches lined the walls, with space cleared for a mini-gallery for the artists’ work and a stage in the center of the room. This unassuming restaurant, though not designed to hold large works of art, turned out to provide an intimate atmosphere for event-goers.

“At first, we thought the space might be too small (to showcase the art), but everything came together in the end,” said Harith Quaye, the husband of artist Kaleeka Bond, a Southern Californian native who now lives in Stanton. Bond’s works were a highlight of the night, with her black and white portraits making a stunning contrast with the other colorful artwork in the gallery. Bond, who has been interested in art since high school, went on to study art in college, eventually making her way into a teaching career as well as selling some of her paintings.

“I usually work on a larger scale, so it was interesting finding the pieces to showcase tonight that would fit in this space,” said Bond. “You have to choose pieces that are portable and will work in a smaller setting and we managed to do just that.” One of the most intriguing pieces in Bond’s collection was a portrait she drew of her mother, who came out to the event to support her daughter’s work.

“It’s nice to have her (Bond’s mother) here because then people can see that art isn’t always just on the page,” Bond said. “People can see the actual inspiration for the piece in real life.” Other RAW artists had family and friends attend the event, which ran for more than two hours.

A short animated video, directed by RAW artist Luke Randall, got the night started in a playful way. His film, Reach, was projected onto the screen above the stage for everyone to see. Then came Justin Rivera, a magician/comedian who got the crowd laughing with his humor and sleight of hand. One of the biggest performances of the night came from musician Octavius Womack, a young man originally from Tennessee who wowed the crowd with his singing. Womack entertained event-goers with his huge voice and crowd-friendly tracks, covering songs from artists like Sublime and Marvin Gaye as well as several original pieces.

Each artist had a short portion of the night to show off his or her skills, with the still art on display in a separate enclosed area so that people could view the pieces at their own leisure. A rousing hair and fashion show capped off the night with a bang and the event proceeded smoothly for both the artists and the public. As event producer Lindsay Biundo looked on, her dream of providing a space for RAW artists to interact and share their creativity with the community of Fullerton came to life.

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