2013: A Nuvein Retrospective (Part I of II)

sgvartsalive

2013 was a year of discovery.

The year brought significant transitions and upward mobility for the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts (Nuvein).  The year brought with it changes, expansion, and challenges that in the end, have served to strengthen Nuvein’s overall presence, impact, and profile among so many exciting developments in the San Gabriel Valley region of Southern California.

The year began with the continued support and accommodation of Nuvein meetings by the generosity of the staff and leadership of Longo Toyota at the Penske College campus.

Penske College (courtesy of www.longolexus.com)

The Penske College campus allows local non-profits and community causes to request meeting space usage and other resources to advance their charitable causes that impact and benefit El Monte and surrounding communities.  For additional information on how to connect with Longo Toyota as pertains to Penske College, see details here.

JANUARY

nuvein

“Nuvein” (artwork by Jim Lujan)

January 2013 had Nuvein’s 2012-2013 Nomination Season in full swing. (We are currently in our 2013-2014 Nomination Season.) As Nuvein board members and the artistic and cultural leadership community of the San Gabriel Valley sought to connect to one another, statements of interest as well as invitations were made to solidify the organization for what promised to be a year of significance.

2013 Nuvein Board (photo courtesy of Nuvein)

In the end, Nuvein’s board of 7 active members grew to 12 with the addition of 5 new members from the communities of La Puente, Covina, Whittier, and Pico Rivera. New members included artisan vendors sisters, a community organizing couple, and a tech savvy poet. All of which proved to be indispensable to the organization in the months ahead.

 

FEBRUARY

SGV LitFest logo (courtesy of sgvlitfest.com)

February 2013 had Nuvein begin its participation in a variety of artistic and cultural events yearlong. Nuvein was invited to participate in the San Gabriel Valley Literature Festival (SGV LitFest). The SGV LitFest was a weekend long event, February 15-17 of 2013,  that showcased literary luminaries from across the globe, the US, and featured many local Southern California writers and poets at the West Covina Civic Center, the West Covina Branch of the Los Angeles County Library, and City Hall.

 

2013 SGV Litfest Map (courtesy of sgvlitfest.com)

The inaugural literary arts event was organized by local published authors, poets, small press publishers, and literary arts collegiate educators. Nuvein was well represented at the event by its board members and community partners. During the course of the weekend, board members Petra Nieto and Estella Neyer vended their one of a kind artisan crafts, board member Kimberly Cobian and fellow ZZyZx WriterZ offered their Anthology “A Three Hour Tour”, board member Javier Hernandez, artist and comic book creator,  offered the vast catalogue of his Los Comex created works, while board member, Chris Trevilla, offered up his chapbook preview of his upcoming Chicano poetry collection to be entitled “Cantos a la Luna Burlona de sus Lobos Bohemios”. Also invited to participate at the Nuvein Booth was Sal Gomez, online radio host and programming coordinator of the Soul Pilot Radio Experience show on Mid Valley Radio as well as to represent Mid Valley News, a longtime Nuvein partner and sponsor.

Left to Right – Kimberly Cobian, Christopher Trevilla, and Sal Gomez at SGV Litfest. (photo courtesy of Nuvein)

Additionally, Nuvein President, Chris Trevilla, was among a group of Los Angeles writers/poets/organizers invited to showcase the vitality of LA Letters that included Don Kingfisher Campbell poet/educator/organizer of the SGV Poetry Festival and the Emerging Urban Poetry/Saturday Afternoon Poetry group from Pasadena, Mike the Poet Sonksen poet/organizer and contributor at KCET Departures – LA Letters, and Chiwan Choi poet/editor/author at Writ Large Press and organizing partner of the Grand Park Downtown Book Festival. Other literary luminaries featured were Suzanne Lummis, Tony Barnstone, Sunny Frazier, erald Locklin, Charles Harper Webb, Christopher Buckley, Laurel Ann Bogen, LA’s newly named poet laureate Eloise Klein Healy, and many others.

Cornucopia of Poetry/Prose at the SGV LitFest (photo courtesy of Washing Machine Press)

The event garnered high praise for uniting several prominent literary figures at a family friendly event that tallied over a thousand guests from beginning to end.  The event featured literary artists, small press and independent publishers, artisan vendors, food trucks, and musical performances.

Two months In, Nuvein already found itself full steam ahead for the next few hectic and rewarding months.

 

MARCH

LP Artwalk logo (designed by Heyzen Contreras)

March 2013 kept Nuvein busy with the return of the successful quarterly arts and culture showcase known as the Un Poquito Mas Arte: Old Town La Puente Artwalk.  This marked the second year of this event in the City of La Puente‘s historic Old Town district. The artwalk began in February of 2012 as a coalition formed by Nuvein of local artists, educators, business owners, civic leadership, partner non-profit organizations, and community members created a space for arts and culture to be showcased and offered up to the La Puente Community.

Photograph of Star Theatre iconic “Star Light Tower”, taken by Sal Gomez.

The March 2013  edition of the La Puente Artwalk featured 10 artistic and creative spaces including an artisan vendors bazaar, scrapbook workshops, poetry and live performance open mic, and 7 galleries featuring the arts in all its forms. Curators and producers of this even included Chris Penalber of Cakeshop Oddities, Heyzen Contreras, Sal Gomez, Kimberly Cobian, Ricardo Ocampo, Lauren Carboney, and others.

Inside the Blood Lust art show at the RiT Gallery (photo courtesy of La Puente Artwalk)

Nuvein maintained a physical presence at the La Puente artwalk by organizing the vendor’s bazaar at the La Puente Arcade lot, and facilitating communication between civic leadership, business, artists, and the local community.

Poet’s Corner with Curator Kimberly Cobian (photo courtesy of Heyzen Contreras)

Overall, the event was a great success, as over 500 guests participated in the initial 2013 edition of the artwalk series from across Southern California and the local comnunity. The La Puente Artwalk, now officially over a year old, had firmly taken root and established itself as a community driven, artist built, and city supported arts showcase.

El Monte-Rosemead Adult School ESL students create family tree project displays. (photo courtesy of Mary Torregrossa)

El Monte-Rosemead Adult School ESL students create family tree project displays. (photo courtesy of Mary Torregrossa)

March also presented Nuvein with the opportunity to showcase local artistry and encourage cultural identification through supporting a small grant proposal towards the purchasing of arts supplies. The proposal was to support a family tree project proposed by El Monte/Rosemead Adult School educator and activist, Mary Torregrossa of Baldwin Park. The small grant was approved. The project moved forward, led by educator Torregrossa, which helped each student create a visual statement of their identity, heritage, and history.  Ultimately, the Adult ESL students of El Monte/Rosemead Adult School were able and successful participants at the District Open House at Wilkerson School that month.

March provided Nuvein the opportunities to educate, encourage, and showcase the arts and creativity in all its forms.

 

APRIL

SGV-Poetry

SGV Poetry in Motion (designed by Javier Hernandez)

April brought Nuvein into National Poetry Month 2013. Poetry has always occupied an important part in the history and development of Nuvein. The founder and president emeritus of Nuvein, the recently departed Enrique Diaz, was not only a published author and poet, but also helped incorporate the foundation following the success of Nuvein Magazine, a literary and media publication.  The current president of Nuvein, Chris Trevilla, himself a poet, met Enrique and the members of Nuvein at the Arts and Literature Festival at the Lakes in West Covina in 2009. Thus, rooted in mutual love for the written/spoken word and creative expression, Nuvein was more than capable of diving into National Poetry Month once again in 2013.

CLT spits Poetry at the Lakes (art by Raul Aguirre Jr.)

 

April 2013 brought about the 5th edition of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival, a month long celebration of poetry and spoken word through a series of special performance showcases, workshops, and public events that featured several of the region’s writing groups, as well bringing together many of the emerging and established poets of the area.  The festival’s events spanned all across the San Gabriel Valley and were all highly successful and a strong testament to the vitality of Poetry.

2013 SGV Poetry Festival logo (courtesy of 2013sgvpf.blogspot.com)

 

One of the SGV Poetry Festival’s events was the 4th Annual SGV Poetry in Motion, a teen and youth poetry competition and open mic showcase held at the Arcadia Public Library. A joint venture of the Library and Nuvein, the event hosted over 30 participants in the competition and open mic showcase portions.

From left to right: Apryl Skies, Xochitl Julissa-Bermejo, Don Campbell, Angela Moore, RIck Stepp-Bolling, and Gary Imperial (photo courtesy of Nuvein )

The event also served to connect the youth to the several poets and poetry group/small press organizers and publishers that served as judges for the event. Among the judges were poets Apryl Skies of Edgar & Lenore Publishing, Xochitl Julissa-Bermejo host of the HITCHED reading series at Beyond Baroque, Don Kingfisher Campbell of the SGV Poetry Festival, Angela Moore of Moms Write SGV, Rick Stepp-Bolling of the Coffee House Writers, and Gary Imperial of the Whittier Poetry Group.

Youth spectators and participants at SGV Poetry in Motion event. (photo courtesy of Nuvein)

All in all, a very successful event that celebrated the creative writing and spirit of middle school and high school aged youth in Arcadia and surrounding communities. The event enjoyed the attendance of over 50 youth and local community members.

DAC logo (courtesy of downeyarts.org)

As part of National Poetry Month, Nuvein was invited to participate in the inaugural edition of State of the Art. a public arts and arts resource fair, organized by the Downey Arts Coalition (DAC) and hosted by the Downey Moravian Church. The event hosted over 20 different artists and artist organizations from across the area and neighboring communities.

State of the Art event at the Downey Moravian Church (photo courtesy of the DAC)

Among the participants were the Last Minute Arts Collective, SGV Literature Festival, the Downey Museum of Art, Stay Gallery, and others.  Guests and participants were given a directory of arts groups and resources supplied by the DAC. The highly successful event brought to a close an artistically and culturally rich month full of celebrations and events that Nuvein was privileged to participate in. The event in fact, was the brain child of artist/poet/healer Roy Anthony Shabla of the Downey Arts Coalition and curator of the Green Salon, one of many arts programs offered by the DAC.

Nuvein at the State of the Art event organized by the Downey Arts Coalition (photo courtesy of Nuvein)

MAY

May 2013 brought greater participation and partnership for Nuvein with other San Gabriel Valley communities. This time with the community of South Pasadena, CA. The South Pasadena Arts Council or SPARC and the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce both invited Nuvein to coordinate a poetry and spoken word event as part of the Eclectic Music Festival and Art Walk. As a result, Nuvein coordinated an event titled Vision and Voices of the Valley II: The Cultural Landscape of LA Poetry. The event unfolded against the backdrop of the beautiful Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.

Main entrance to Fremont Centre Theatre (photo courtesy of southpasadena.patch.com)

The event was hosted by the dynamic and talented Mike the Poet Sonksen and featured female  poets representative of the diverse poetic communities across Los Angeles County. Poets featured included Traci  Akemi Kato-Kiriyama, Blazhia Parker, Kimberly Cobian, and Jessica Wilson. Among poets participating in the open mic were Don Campbell, Chris Trevilla. Lee Boek, Karineh Mahdessian, Charles Davis, and others.

Mike the Poet Sonksen hosts the Vision & Voices of the Valley program at the SoPas Eclectic Music Festival & Artwalk SPARC stage (photo courtesy of Nuvein)

The successful showcasing of poetry and spoken word as part of the SPARC Stage lineup of performances at the Fremont Centre Theatre was a welcome addition to a day full of inspiring and memorable moments. The yearly event gathers crowds in the thousands who come to enjoy a one of a kind experience full of art in all its forms, a perfect environment for a dynamic partnership between Nuvein and SPARC to flourish and work together to showcase the literary world of art in a unique experience.

The band ‘Torches’ perform at the Emerging Artist Stage at the Eclectic Music Festival & Artwalk (photo courtesy of South Pasadena Chamber)

Not even halfway through the year, 2013 brought Nuvein from El Monte to West Covina, La Puente, Arcadia, Downey, and South Pasadena. If this part of the year was any indication of what lay ahead, Nuvein was in for an exhilarating remainder of 2013.

EDUCATE/ENCOURAGE/SHOWCASE

 

To be continued in 2013: A Nuvein Retrospective (Part II)