As the recipient of a Certificate of Congressional Recognition, a Jefferson Award, and official recognition from four consecutive City of Houston’s Mayors, Raúl Orlando Edwards continues to use the arts to positively impact communities. His music studies began at Conservatorio Nacional de Panamá and continued in the USA where he earned a B.A. in Music. After establishing residence in Houston, Texas, he soon joined the arts scene in the role of singer, dancer, teacher, administrator, and producer of programs. A highly creative individual, he sought ways to effectively showcase the richness and the many influences Latin culture contains; with that vision, he established FLAMART in 2006.
In 2008 Foundation for Modern Music (FMM) extended him and FLAMART an invitation to operate under its non-profit status, and in the spring of 2009, FMM appointed Raúl as its Artistic Director. In his first two years at FMM, he led the organization to become an internationally recognized entity, growing annual program attendance from a few hundreds to over 8,000. He is also the founder and director of the first established salsa dance studio in Houston, Strictly Street Salsa (1998), which in collaboration with FLAMART and FMM launched Salsa y Salud, the country’s first full salsa/health initiative program (September 2011), Navidad Latina (2011), El Festival de la Salsa (November 2012), the Afro-Latin Festival (2014), and other events.
Raúl’s 20+ years of artistic work have been featured in more than 25 newspaper articles and over 35 appearances on TV and radio. Artistic professional and teaching engagements include VH-1's movie The Way She Moves, the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet, Society for the Performing Arts, the Ensemble Theater, Miller Outdoor Theatre, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and MECA. He has been part of over 30 civic and cultural collaborations with the City of Houston, American Heart Association, Institute of Hispanic Culture, Solero Flamenco, DANMAR, and the Houston Argentine Tango Association (HATA), and has served as a panelist for the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Houston Arts Alliance.