2014: A Retrospective


2014 was a year of INSIGHT.

Nuvein began 2014 as it began 2013, as an organization full of promise undergoing continuous change and growth. Throughout the course of 2014, Nuvein took great steps towards solidifying its organizational structure, streamlining its signature events, managing and coordinating partnerships, reforming internal processes, and ultimately concluding another year full of great outreach, programs, goals, and partnerships.

WINTER 2013-2014 (December-February)


Nuvein had a remarkable year of discovery in 2013, one in which the organization grew, and the communities served increased, continuing a legacy of nearly a decade of continuous arts programming and outreach.

Rounding out a positive year in 2013, Nuvein was invited in December to share its mission and programming to student participants of the KCET Departures – Youth Voices project   at Mt. View High School in El Monte.

Nuvein provided the eager students information on how they could promote arts and culture in their community, ways in which Nuvein could support their projects, as well as provided the students information on its annual arts scholarship.

Finally, Nuvein bid farewell to 2013 by having its annual Board Holiday Luncheon, which was hosted at the Pondahan Restaurant in West Covina. There the board reminisced on the challenges and success of the year and celebrated each other with a traditional white elephant gift exchange.

January 2014 began with the culmination of the annual Nomination Season and the Election of a new Nuvein Board. The electoral process saw the addition of Sean Telles of San Gabriel as Director of Media and Communications, Timo Curtiss of Whittier as Director of Arts Programs, and Bryan Coreas of Valinda as Executive Board Secretary. New and returning board directors and officers were installed in February 2014.


El Monte Artists/Creatives (clockwise from upper left): Elwing Gonzalez, Dolores Gonzales Haro, Roberto Cordero, and Baldomero Perez.


February also had Nuvein participate in the South El Monte Arts Posse (SEMAP) project East of East: Mapping Community Narratives, a public archive project centered on El Monte and South El Monte history funded by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

As an invited participant of this project, Nuvein members Chris Trevilla and Kimberly Cobian set about seeking interviews with public art creatives as well as artists in El Monte and South El Monte.  Nuvein was unable to secure interviews with muralists and other public art creatives, but did compile a list of the public art in the community.

However, Nuvein was able to conduct oral histories with artists and creatives with roots in the El Monte area. Among those interviewed were muralist and educator Elwing Gonzalez, graffiti artist and musician Baldomero Perez, muralist and educator Dolores Gonzales Haro, and self-identified  ‘low brow’ artist Robert Cordero.

As participants in the project, Nuvein financed securing of audio recording equipment and interview spaces.

Nuvein also explored the possibility of securing a Creative Community grant with the California Arts Council, but elected to focus its efforts on reorganizing itself and committed to having a retreat to discuss the organization, its mission, and programs.

SPRING 2014 (March-June)


El Monte-Rosemead Adult School Book store and Book Fair, one of many activities taking place at the active campus during EMSEM Principal for a Day 2014.


At the outset of March, the El Monte Union High School District partnered with the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce to have chamber members function as Principal for a Day. Nuvein members Chris Trevilla, Miguel Sankitts, and Bryan Coreas attended and visited with South El Monte High School and the El Monte-Rosemead Adult School. The program was a success and all left in high spirits and with greater awareness of the supports and programs offered at each campus.

Nuvein PartnerThe March edition of the La Puente Artwalk saw Nuvein receive a community arts program grant from the office of then 1st District Supervisor Gloria Molina, who visited the event and town. It was a pleasant surprise and honor to have the Supervisor visit the city and the event.

Supervisor Molina was guided along the various galleries and art spaces by board members Chris Trevilla and Bryan Coreas.

The event was a huge success, and helped the event garner regional attention due to its 3rd year of programming and the high profile visit by then Supervisor Molina.

As always, Nuvein organized arts programming out of the renovated La Puente Library.


2014pimApril once more brought about Nuvein’s programming for National Poetry Month in conjunction with the 2014 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival.

Once more Nuvein partnered with the Arcadia Library to host the Poetry in Motion Competition and Showcase event.Hosted by board member Kimberly Cobian, the event counted on the support and participation of the ZZyZx WriterZ, as well as other local SGV poets, who served as mentors and hosts to showcase the poetry of local high school youth.

Nuvein also facilitated a poetry workshop out of the Montebello branch of the LA County Library. Board member Chris Trevilla led a workshop on illusory language in poetic compositions with a group of local high school students.

Spring came to a close with the return of the SGV Comic Book Expo at the Baldwin Park Arts and Recreation Center (BP ARC) in June. The event hosted over 50 artists and artisans of various mediums and styles inspired by comic book culture.

As part of the event, the BP ARC hosted its annual Comic Art Exhibition, which showcased comic book inspired artworks in its gallery from June to August.

The event offered workshops, arts and crafts activities, panels, and food trucks to the more than a thousand attendees throughout the event. All in all, the event was a great ending to a spring full of great events and beginning to a summer filled with even more.


SUMMER 2014 (July-September)


Nuvein board members (l to r): Roberta Lujan, Miguel Sankitts, Kimberly Cobian, and Bryan Coreas at Casa la Reina for Nuvein 2014 retreat. Photo by Jeffrey Bickel.

Summer began with Nuvein making good on its promise to look at its mission, values, programs, projects, and membership.  Nuvein was hosted by Roy Anthony Shabla of the Downey Arts Coalition at Casa de la Reina for its annual Nuvein Retreat in July. At the retreat, Nuvein reviewed its history, reflected on the original intent of its founder, Enrique Diaz, as well as went over past and future projects. Board member, Jeffrey Bickel, oversaw the retreat. The respite was a welcomed one, as members took the time to have a casual conversation about their respective goals within the board at Nuvein.


Poetrypalooza 2014 stop in La Puente at Bridgetown Diy. Photo courtesy of Bryan Coreas.

August saw the return of the highly successful PoetryPaloooza tour of art, music, and poetry throughout Los Angeles County.

Organized by the ZZyZx WriterZ, the tour managed to have several stops across the San Gabriel Valley, including a stop in El Monte. The Poetrypalooza – El Monte stop highlighted a collaboration between the WriterZ and the Art Movement group, who co-organized performances, workshops, and art programming.

Additionally, Poetrypalooza also made a stop at La Puente, as the ZZyZx WriterZ partnered with Bridgetown Diy, a La Puente arts collective, to offer a night of music, poetry, performance, and art in a safe and shared space. Among those organizing and present was Nuvein board member Bryan Coreas.




La Puente Artwalk ‘Harmonia/Harmony’ program at the La Puente Library.

In September, the La Puente Artwalk returned for a final time in 2014, where Nuvein, continuing its commitment to offer children and youth arts programming for the event, organized the La Puente Library event.

The program, entitled “Harmony/Harmonia”, featured outdoors chalk art, coloring activities, and a musical instrument lesson.

Through a small arts program grant from then District Supervisor Gloria Molina, Nuvein was able to provided a free musical lesson with instruments and music sheets gifted to local La Puente children and youth. Each participating child received a free recorder with sheet music as well as basic instruction.

The lesson was led by volunteers from both the La Puente Artwalk and Bridgetown Diy that helped the children learn the first few bars of music for  ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ and ‘Cuckoo’.


FALL 2014 (October-December)


Catrina beauty pageant by Paradise Bridal Boutique closes out Dia De Los Muertos – El Monte.

Nuvein brought in the Fall of 2014 with its annual premier event, the Dia de Los Muertos event, which for its 5th year, took place at the historic El Monte Valley Mall.

The event gathered around 3,500 attendees throughout the day, and was organized by Nuvein and sponsored once more by the Downtown El Monte Business Association.

Dia de Los Muertos – El Monte was covered extensively by Mid Valley Radio, Mid Valley News, and Channel 3 El Monte Television.  The event was hosted by Mike Gomez, en El Monte based arts activist and renowned actor, as well as Vivian Macias, co-hostess of El Monte Channel 3’s program ‘El Monte Tonight’.

Among the performances were Mariachi Los Pasajeros, Danza Azteca Cuauhtemoc Baldwin Park, Ballet Folklorico Tllaliyolo Corazon de la Tierra, and others.



‘Galeria Alegrarse’ curator Chris ‘Cakeshop’ Penalber looks on as arts aficianados take in the myriad of art pieces inspired by Dia De los Muertos.


Also on site during the event was KCET Departures, who took the opportunity to engage the community and discuss the need for further arts and culture events such as Dia de Los Muertos.

The event featured over 60 artisan vendors, 100 displayed works of art at an exhibit entitled ‘Galeria Alegrarse’ which was curated by Chris ‘Cakeshop’ Penalber and Melissa Lyndell of the La Puente Artwalk.

Additionally, the event featured a Catrina beauty pageant organized by Paradise Bridal Boutique that featured several takes on the iconic Catrina.

Volunteers from the El Monte M.e.Ch.A. and from surrounding communities in the San Gabriel Valley contributed to the success of the event, which coincided with the annual Children’s parade and Harvest festival.


November brought Nuvein back into its annual Nomination Season, and new potential board members and candidates to the Executive and Advisory board where reached out to for their interest in serving to advance Nuvein’s charitable mission.


In December, Nuvein was able to award the Nuvein Visionary Scholarship to Sirenia Cortez, a participant of the Miss Friendly El Monte/South El Monte pageant, who demonstrated a passion for arts and social activism.  The pageant took place inside the auditorium of El Monte High School, and had several entries competing for the title of Miss Friendly EMSEM, as well as other positions within the pageantry court.

empageant2Board member Bryan Coreas represented Nuvein at the pageant and presented the prestigius award to Sirenia Cortez.

The end of the year brought forward the promise of a new year and new board. With the changes within the organization, and the increased leadership within, Nuvein President Chris Trevilla signaled his stepping down to go on as Media and Communications Director and encouraged others within to seek the presidency.

2014 was a year of incredible insight for the organization, and the introspection and wisdom gathered looks to already be serving Nuvein well as it develops its programs into 2015.