Creative Vision that reaches as far back as 1984 is how long Raúl Orlando Edwards has been constant in creating art that impacts communities. Starting with preparing dishes for special events at age 15, then with music classes at age 18; he quickly discovered a passion for all things ‘creative’. Since that time, he has become known for his ability to adapt, manage and execute his and others’ artistic visions. Performing on stage or designing special dishes or structuring events - his ‘It Can Be Done!’ attitude has become a signature of his artistic output. This passion for new aesthetics is the engine that has converted many ideas into fully developed and vibrant programs such as:
Strictly Street Salsa – Houston's first official salsa studio (1998)
Salsa y Salud – Houston and country’s first and biggest salsa and health initiative of its type (2011)
Raíces - Celebrating the many influences that make up Latin culture: the Indigenous, European, African and others (2011)
Afro Latin Fest – Leading the country with the largest curriculum of Afro-Latin classes in one event (2014)
Latin Week Houston - Inspired on the concept of Raíces, was launched as a 10 day event and the first one in Houston (2020)
The Evolution of Salsa (show and lecture) - Houston's first production was presented in 1999 at the Institute of Hispanic Culture. The concept later became a lecture and continues to be presented at universities, conferences and corporations (2004)
Navidad Latina - launched at the MFAH, celebrating Latin American and Spanish holiday's traditions (2011)
Music That Should be Danced - keeping dance performances to live music alive in Houston (2011)
In addition to the regular series mentioned above, he has been instrumental whether as a creator, organizer or collaborator in presenting several citywide programs as described below:
Year of Tolerance – An idea to highlight the importance of inclusion and respect of others. Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner presented a Proclamation to launch the yearlong series of events. This program is part of Rice University Arts of Tolerance.
Festival de la Salsa – Presented to celebrate the world’s most popular music genre, to honor legends that paved the way, and to encourage new generations in keeping the music alive and vibrant for years to come.
Lose it to Salsa – A fitness idea to use salsa and other Latin dances started in 1998, and served as the foundation for Salsa y Salud.
Dance for Humanity – The mass appeal of dance served as the vehicle to present a multi-cultural performance series that exemplify a world that co-exists in unity. The ‘Sold-Out’ inaugural was launched at MATCH under Rice University Arts of Tolerance.
Concert for Humanity – A cast of over 200 musicians presented a stirring performance at the inaugural event, where philosophies and beliefs from around the world were set to music in a celebration of goodwill and diversity. This program was launched under Rice University Arts of Tolerance.
Year of the Woman – First approached by Paul Boyd (Foundation for Modern Music’s Executive Director), then by Jorge Orta (Salsa y Salud’s Music Director) and then by Agnes Rivera (Decídete Mujer’s Executive Director) on the idea of creating a program that celebrated women’s contributions in the arts; Raúl saw that as a ‘sign’ and brought all these leaders together and organized the event which was launched with Great Day Houston’s host, Deborah Duncan, as very special guest at the Miller Outdoor Theatre to a live audience of over 5,000 attendees. A special feature was to use the program to educate on the need to end the culture of violence toward women.
Premier Women – Following the success of Year of the Woman, Rice University Arts of Tolerance, Foundation for Modern Music and Flamart collaborated in presenting a two day performance event honoring some of Houston’s outstanding women.
Other programs, organizations and initiatives he has been involved with include:
Hispanic Health Coalition Health Fairs
American Heart Association ‘Vestido Rojo’ and ‘Go Red Girlfriend’
Juneteenth Festival (Houston)
Society for the Performing Arts
Houston Grand Opera's ‘Salsipuedes’ opening night
Houston Symphony Day of Music
Theater District Open House
City of Houston Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center's 'Family Fun Day'
International Festival (I-Fest - Houston)
Rice University Office of Multicultural Affairs Hispanic Heritage Month
Rice University Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice (HACER)
University of Houston Society of Afro-Latino Students in America (SALSA)
Houston Community College Dance Department
University of Houston Dance Department
City of Houston New Year, New You! Health Initiative
18th Congressional District Annual ‘Toys for Kids’
UNIVISION Houston - Panelist for the Virtual Town Hall on Racism
Díaz Music Institute Summer Camp
Houston Ballet Academy Summer Program
Dance Houston Summer Camp
HMAAC African Film Festival (panelist)
Noche Caliente at Miller Outdoor Theatre
Houston Latin Fest
KIFEST (Kids International Festival)
Texas A&M Afro Latino Festival in Aggieland
Institute of Hispanic Culture ‘Dia de la Raza’ at Miller Theatre
Nuestra Palabra Afro Latino Cultural Capital Panel Discussion
...to name a few
Raúl Orlando Edwards"
Olivia Flores Alvarez
Houston Press, December, 2012
“…constant work in the community in maintaining alive the roots, the culture and folklore of our nation in the United States of America.”
Alvaro Dutari Ferrari, Consul General of Panama in Houston, 7 de junio, 2012
“…influencing a culture of wellness in the City of Houston...”
Bill White, Mayor, City of Houston, April 8, 2009
"…engaging, varied and exciting programming and seeks to build bridges between communities…continues to add to Houston’s diversity while sharing the distinctive Afro-Latin culture…”
Sylvester Turner, City of Houston Afro Latin Fest Proclamation, June 2018
"Musica y baile con Raíces" (Music and dance with foundation)
Domingo Banda, Semana News Houston, January 30, 2011
"Year of Tolerance…dedicated to promoting tolerance, unity, pluralism and cultural diversity…conceptualized by Raul Orlando Edwards…"
Sylvester Turner, City of Houston Year of Tolerance Proclamation, January 2018
"Latin Week Houston was founded by Panamanian-Jamaican artist, Raul Orlando Edwards...mission is a showcase of all influences with dignity and respect while preserving Latin American arts for years to come."
Sheila Jackson Lee, Member of Congress, Certificate of Congressional Recognition to Strictly Street Salsa, January 2020
"Un colorido mosaico multicultural..." (A colorful multicultural mosaic)
David Dorantes, Houston Chronicle, December 2012
"…Your participation and positive attitude has been essential in making these events successful in diverse communities. You are a valued partner to the City of Houston."
Dr. Nicole Hare, Wellness Director, City of Houston, 2009
“Program celebrates Latin American traditions”
Colin Eatock, Houston Chronicle, December 2011
"…Gifts from friends like you help Hermann Park Conservancy continue its mission to maintain and improve the Park…"
Doreen Stoller, President, Hermann Park Conservancy, 2017
"…celebrando la salud, la vida y el arte a través de la música…" (…celebrating health, life and art through music)
Sandra Urdaneta, El Venevezolano de Houston, October 7, 2011
"Al rescate del baile tradicional latinoamericano" (To the rescue of Latinamerican traditional dance)
Paula Santilli, El Dia, September 27, 2003