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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Michael Churchman

Michael Churchman says that he is just like everybody else  —  he wakes up each morning and has to learn how to think, how to feel, how to exist, how to love, and how to be human all over again.  Sometimes he writes about these things, and sometimes he writes about things that don’t make sense at all, not to himself or to anyone else.

“Whatever roles we are supposed to be playing in this world,” he says, “we can at least play them with full and open hearts, and with style; if it’s a show, we can put on a good one.”


He works as a technical writer, and writes short stories and poetry to keep himself sane.  He has been involved in the arts and allied activities at the community level since his teens, and has served as both a volunteer and board member for a variety of community organizations, including the Shantih Youth Coffee House, the I Care Counseling Center, and the Santa Maria Valley Arts Council.  He has also been involved in several poetry and writing groups, including the Tuesday Poets of San Luis Obispo and Echo Poetry in Claremont.  He is currently an active member of ZZyZx Writerz and the Coffee House Writers Group. Michael, as part of the ZZyZx Writerz along with fellow Nuvein director Kimberly Cobian, helps organize the annual art and literature festival known as Poetrypalooza.

Learn more about the Nuvein team