Founder and Director of Latin Week Houston, Panamanian born artist –Raul Orlando Edwards – is the recipient of a Certificate of Congressional Recognition, Jefferson Award, four consecutive City of Houston Mayoral recognition, and multiple honors. An artistic career that began over 25 years ago, he continues to use the arts to positively impact communities in and out of Houston. A highly creative individual, he sought to showcase the many influences that make up Latin American and Caribbean cultures, leading to the establishment of FLAMART (Featuring Latin American Music and Art) in 2006, with a focus on cultural diversity and education through artistic programs. In 2008 the Foundation for Modern Music (FMM) invited him to join the organization as Artistic Director. In his first two years at FMM, he led the organization from local to internationally recognized, growing attendance from a few hundred to over 8,000. A collaboration between Strictly Street Salsa, FLAMART, and FMM launched Salsa y Salud (the country’s first and biggest salsa/health initiative, 2011), Navidad Latina (Museum of Fine Arts, 2011), the Afro-Latin Fest (2014), and others. His work has been featured in over 20 local and regional newspaper articles and over 35 appearances on TV and radio. He was a contributor in the research article SALSA: SAving Lives Staying Active to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating with the Texas Obesity Research Center (University of Houston), Department of Health Disparities Research (M.D. Anderson Cancer Center) and Strictly Street Salsa (2011). Civic and artistic engagements include: City of Houston, VH-1’s movie The Way She Moves, Houston Grand Opera, Consulates of Panama, Mexico, Israel, Egypt and Italy, Houston Ballet, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA), Latin American Cultural Week (NY), Miller Outdoor Theatre, Rothko Chapel, Rice University, Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University, San Francisco Rueda Festival, and others. In 2018 Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Studies extended him an invitation to create an outreach program designed to promote tolerance, where he serves as Executive Director for Arts of Tolerance. He is currently engaged in building national collaborations while expanding existing programs that continue to improve communities in the Greater Houston Area and beyond.