Lucia Flores


Lucia Flores, 30, is a proud resident of the San Gabriel Valley, having grown up in the cities of El Monte and Baldwin Park. The daughter of parents who emigrated to the United States from Jalisco, Mexico, Lucia has fully embraced the diverse culture of her community.

Graduating on the Dean’s List with honors, Lucia received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/TV/Film from California State University, Fullerton. She is currently a Radio Host/Producer for “Rockin’ Rolas” and “Funk & Freestyle” on Mid Valley Radio. Lucia is a Field Reporter for Mid Valley News, covering local events in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond. She has also worked for over ten years as an Adult Education Assistant at the El Monte-Rosemead Adult School. In her spare time she enjoys video and audio editing, listening to BIGBANG, and blogging.

Lucia believes that it is very important for art and culture to have a presence in the community. Creative outlets for artistic expression help motivate individuals to achieve their goals and aspirations. The Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts represents one of many burgeoning organizations that help facilitate this ideal.

As a member of Nuvein, Lucia hopes to help spread the word about the importance of art and culture in the San Gabriel Valley and inform the public about community events in which they have an opportunity to participate in.

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Maria Estela Diaz

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Maria Estela Diaz is a woman who believes in the power of education to empower, the ability of the arts to connect, and the responsibility to build community. In her 50s, Maria’s background has had her experience both Visual and Literary Art as student and as part of an educational team being inspired and inspiring others.
Maria was born in Jalisco, Mexico and was raised and schooled in California. Growing up in Baldwin Park, a predominantly Hispanic community in the East San Gabriel Valley, Maria grew to identify and appreciate the community where she still resides to this day with her family.
From an early age, Maria was always fascinated by literature, drawing and writing. Herself a creative and expressive youth, she received awards for her art work during junior high school. However, it was literature that had a lasting effect on her, as she chose to develop her writing skills instead. In High School, this passion for writing translated to Maria writing for the Baldwin Park High School newspaper. Not one to limit her exposure and attachment to the arts and organizing, Maria was also one of the principal students involved in creating and instituting a drama program which to this day remains active at Baldwin Park High School.
After graduating from Baldwin Park High School, Maria attended Mt. San Antonio College where she received an AA in Liberal Arts and transferred to Cal State University Los Angeles to pursue a bachelors in Psychology. Unfortunately, family obligations and unforeseen circumstances had her interrupt her studies, and she was unable to obtain her BA.
Nevertheless, while her studies may have been put on hold, her desire to improve her community never wavered. Since the age of 18, Maria has been a volunteer and employee of the Baldwin Park Unified School District (BPUSD) in various capacities and positions, While at BPUSD, Maria was able to observe the benefits of a well rounded curriculum which included arts and literature as well as how a curriculum suffered when visual, performing, and literary arts were not integrated into studies.
Maria also committed herself to improving her community through service at her local church. As a volunteer at her church, Maria was able to implement music, drawing and poetry in her catechism classes to help children learn abstract ideas such as faith and spirituality.
Through her instruction and assistance at her local church and schools, Maria was able to connect with her students by word and example, as she provided them invaluable lessons about team work and leadership participating in band, choir and color guard at the local schools.
Maria feels exposure to art, music and literature provides a depth and richness that creates a fertile environment for creativity and original ideas. Art is an important part of humanity, and any cause that furthers creativity and expression is one of the main reasons for Maria joining the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts.
As part of Nuvein, Maria sees opportunity to reach out to the community and provide services that promote and support the arts and literature. It is her hope that in doing so, Nuvein will be contributing to the cultural development of the San Gabriel Valley and beyond by increasing the number of students who can continue to pursue their careers in the arts becoming men and women whose creativity and vision will influence generations of budding artists, authors, dancers, and musicians.


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Arts organization provides decade of access to Art across San Gabriel Valley


Enrique Diaz, founder of the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts, in 2004 was asked why the urgency to create a local arts organization for the San Gabriel Valley, he simply stated,

“We are dedicated to voices rarely heard in a world increasingly devoid of diversity.”

Nuvein PartnerFor nearly ten years, a small group of community leaders, educators, business owners, artists, and activists have banded together to connect various communities to free arts programming.

The Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts, an El Monte based arts non-profit organization, has provided arts programming, arts advocacy, arts scholarships, and funding for arts projects since its incorporation in 2007.

From creating and organizing annual arts and culture events like Dia de Los Muertos in El Monte or the annual San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo in cities such as Baldwin Park, Monrovia and other communities, creating and developing the La Puente Artwalk, sponsoring and supporting the El Monte/Rosemead Adult School with art supplies, as well as funding the PoetryPalooza event organized by the ZzyZx WriterZ group, and handing out scholarships to high school students from Baldwin Park, South El Monte, and other communities, the foundation’s work has been extensive.


Across the years, Nuvein has enjoyed partnering or participating with groups or organizations such as the East Valley Arts Association, KCET Departures – Youth Voices, Greater West Covina Business Association, South Pasadena Arts Council, El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce,  Twin Palms Recovery Center, East Valley Boys and Girls Club, South El Monte Arts Posse, M.E.Ch.A., San Gabriel Valley Club Cubano, Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, El Monte La Historia Society, Baldwin Park Arts and Recreation Center, Old Town Puente Association, Arts for LA, San Gabriel Valley Literature Festival, City of La Puente, LA County Public Library, Downtown El Monte Business Association, Downey Arts Coalition, and many others to provide arts programming across the San Gabriel Valley.

These partnerships have helped Nuvein further its charitable mission of promoting arts and culture in a traditionally under served area with limited access to art experiences.


For this and other reasons, Nuvein also provides funding for arts education.

Specifically, Nuvein awards two annual arts scholarships for junior and senior high school students residing in the San Gabriel Valley  area who are creative and inclined to pursue an artistic profession through higher education at an accredited community college or university.

Nuvein has awarded scholarships to students from San Gabriel Valley communities from South El Monte, El Monte, and Baldwin Park. Past recipients have gone on to major in graphic design, become entrepreneurs, and local representatives of their communities.


Nuvein is a proud supporter of greater inclusion of arts in education, and has proudly partnered with educators and arts advocates in various surrounding communities to provide students of all ages meaningful learning experiences that provide an arts and culture formation.

Nuvein is a volunteer driven CA 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies on fundraising, donations, grants, and other charitable gifts to sustain its mission to connect the communities of the San Gabriel Valley to and through the arts.

Nuvein Board PowerNone of its board members have ever, since its founding, gained any financial compensation, incentives, or reward for their efforts, as each position is at-will and voluntary.

Since the beginning, all events and programs organized by the Nuvein Foundation are free to the general public.

For more information on the Nuvein Foundation – how to volunteer, donate, participate at events, or address general questions as to the programs and services Nuvein provides, please visit the organization’s website at or at the organization’s facebook page at you can send an email to

We look forward to to continuing our commitment to educate, encourage, and showcase the arts in all its forms across the San Gabriel Valley for many more years.



Jeffrey Steven Bickel



Jeffrey is an arts and education advocate who was raised in Alhambra and has lived the past 25 years in the community of Baldwin Park. Jeffrey works as a film preservationist, preserving and restoring news film and documentaries for the UCLA Film and Television Archive. In addition, he periodically does public presentations of his restoration work at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood and at other archival and academic institutions.

In 1996, Jeffrey assisted his late husband, Enrique Diaz, in creating one of the first online literary magazines, Nuvein Magazine. The magazine provided a space for writers who found themselves outside the mainstream literary community and often featured LGBTQ writers. A decade later, Enrique, Jeffrey and a small group of San Gabriel Valley natives founded the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts. The Foundation was created to raise funds for students interested in pursuing an education in arts or literature and to showcase the rich and diverse arts and literary scene in the San Gabriel Valley. Since Nuvein’s inception, Jeff has proudly served as Executive Board Treasurer, ensuring the vision and work of Nuvein remained true to its charitable mission and in compliance with 501(c)3 requirements.

Since his spouse’s death, Jeffrey has attempted to carry on Enrique’s visionary legacy. He continues to work to build the Nuvein Foundation into a thriving and dynamic institution that promotes arts education and facilitates arts and cultural events throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

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SGV Comic Book Expo

Update: Recap of 2014 Comic Expo. 

With the surging popularity and rise of comic book cinema in the 2000′s, and the great need for arts exposure in the SGV, the Nuvein Foundation decided to create an opportunity to SHOWCASE this popular and exciting art form. 

 See SGV Comic Expo Facebook page for more information

Below you will find:  FAQs, and the history of the SGV Comic Expo

FAQ for SGV Comic Book Expo
1) How do I secure a space as vendor/exhibitor at this event?
Thank you for your interest in this incredible event. You can download all the forms needed to  be a vendor/exhibitor at this event on our website here .

2) Why so many forms? What are they anyways?
The reason for the multiple forms is that they each serve different purposes that relate to this event.  The application allows us to register for the event, the exhibitor/vendor release allows us to host you at the facility/grounds in partnership with the Baldwin Park Arts & Recreation Center (ARC), and the media release allows us to take photos of you at our event. All forms are necessary for your participation in the event.

3) What does it mean to be an exhibitor at Artist Alley?
An exhibitor at Artist Alley must be a independent comic book or comic book art illustrator, animator, publisher who participates in the exhibition hall known as Artist Alley. It is s specific kind of vendor for the purpose of this event, which is to highlight independent comic book creators across Southern California. Artist Alley Exhibitors are housed inside the Baldwin Park ARC (see map on our website)

4) What is it mean to be a vendor at the Fountain Plaza? A vendor is a artisan, crafts worker, artist, or creative that has specialized items, collectibles, and goods that are comic book culture oriented (eg. Custom shirts, comics, hats, toys, etc). Vendors will be hosted at the adjacent Civic Center Fountain Plaza overlooking the Maine/Pacific Ave intersection near Ramona Blvd.

5) What are the fees for being an exhibitor? vendor?
All fees associated with participation in the event are disclosed on the application form as part of event registration.

6) Is there admission charged to go to this event?
No. The Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts, in partnership with the Baldwin Park ARC, are offering the event free to the general public. This is in line with the charitable mission of both organizations to provide access to arts and culture events to the residents of Baldwin Park and the Greater San Gabriel Valley Region and beyond of Southern California. This event is made possible by the support and sponsorship of the City of Baldwin Park.

7) Where is the Baldwin Park Arts & Recreation Center located?
The Baldwin Park ARC is located at 14403-B Pacific Ave, Baldwin Park, CA. The ARC faces the intersection of Maine Ave and Pacific Ave, less than one block south of Ramona Blvd, and lies north across the street from the Baldwin Park Metrolink Station. Parking is available at the adjacent structure on Bogart Ave.

8) When is the SGV Comic Book Expo?
The 2014 SGV Comic Book Expo is taking place on Saturday, June 28th, 2014 from 11am-5pm.  Stay tuned for future information on the event’s programming and attractions. You can also follow the event on Facebook.
9) What is the SGV Comic Art Exhibition? Is this related to the Expo?
The SGV Comic Art Exhibition is a showcase of local artists with works inspired by comic books, comic book culture, comic book characters.
10) What is the exhibition date for the SGV Comic Art Exhibit?
The 2014 SGV Comic Art Exhibition will run from June 16th opening reception on Friday, June 20th free and open to the general public.

History of San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo

Nuvein founder, and president emeritus, the late Enrique Diaz, knew all too well the magic that opportunity, the right people, and the eagerness and excitement of the youth could create around the SGV. This as well as discovering a wealth of local independent comic book creators, illustrators, animators, and promoting the formation of the SGV Cartoonistas by SGV natives Javier Hernandez, Jim Lujan, Grasiela Rodriguez, Raul Aguirre Jr., and others only led him to considering and creating the Nuvein Foundations’ “SGV Comic Book Festival”.

The initial 2008 edition took place at the Cuban Club in El Monte, a long time partner venue of Nuvein, on April 6, 2008. The SGV Comic Book Festival was a successful event where local youth, fans, and aspiring artists alike met with independent comic book creators, animators, illustrators, and the SGV Cartoonistas. The event featured workshops and live art.

The follow up edition of the SGV Comic Book Festival took place Saturday, October 10, 2009. The event moved location to the Monrovia Library, as part of the Monrovia Fine Arts Association “Celebrate the Arts” event.The event featured independent comic book creators, animators, illustrators, and the SGV Cartoonistas.

In 2010, the Comic Book Festival was once again held at the Cuban Club in El Monte on September 19th. The event featured independent comic book creators, animators, illustrators, and the SGV Cartoonistas.

After a 3 year hold, the Nuvein Foundation relaunched this event in Baldwin Park in the Summer of 2013 as the SGV Comic Book Expo, an event that featured a curated comic book art themed gallery, animation festival, as well as workshops and vending from indie comic book creators from around Southern California. The event unfolded at the Baldwin Park ARC.

For information on the 2014 SGV Comic Expo see visit Facebook

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