Ryan Storms

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Ryan Storms is a graphic design artist,  fashion entrepreneur, business owner, and event promoter from Los Angeles with deep roots in El Monte, South El Monte, and La Puente.

Ryan came into contact with the Nuvein Foundation through Enrique Diaz, who was then promoting arts and culture in the San Gabriel Valley as well as digital media and design studies at the recently launched Digital Business and Design College (DBD) in El Monte. Ryan was attending South El Monte Chamber mixers at the time and later enrolled at DBD, where he was taught web, media, and graphic design.

Ryan was the first recipient of the Nuvein Visionary Scholarship, which allowed him to continue his media and design studies at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

 

As Ryan furthered  his studies at DBD and then the ACCD, he became involved in the Nuvein Foundation, and has since been a constant help to the organization reaching out to local students and the business community in the San Gabriel Valley.

Never one to back down from anything, Ryan began his own marketing and clothing line, SLC Collection, which he established in El Monte. Combining his skills acquired in media and web design, unique fashion sense, and an aggressive social media strategy, SLC Collection quickly became a major distributor of urban/alternative fashion.

In addition to enterprise, Ryan has made ample connections across the music/television industry as both an artist/fashionista business owner and event promoter with Klub Events. Ryan has helped organized and promote events in Los Angeles, across California, and Las Vegas.

Ryan’s primary motivation to volunteer with Nuvein is to empower students and youth to dream big and work hard to reach their own goals on their own terms – no holding back.

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Lucia Flores

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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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Enrique de Jesus Diaz

It is still hard to accept that he is so suddenly gone. Yet, I like to think that each time I look up towards the San Gabriel Mountains, there he is and will be, watching over us, enjoying the legacy of his great work to promote the arts spreading across the Valley through Nuvein in its events, projects, and board members.

– Javier Hernandez, Nuvein Advisory Board Member, April 2, 2011
(Man vs. Art podcast with Raul Aguirre Jr., The Vital Importance of Arts Advocates…)

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Enrique de Jesus Diaz, the late founder and President Emeritus of the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts was a soul too great to be understood in a single sentence. This is simply because his life was a multi-layered story that continues to tell itself.
Enrique was many different things to many different people. For some, he was a passionate poet, for others, a steadfast friend. He was a dedicated mentor, devoted lover, accomplished dancer, loving husband, an ambitious entrepreneur, a family man, trusted business partner, a naturalized immigrant, a dutiful Navy seaman, an empowering publisher, approachable media personality, an ardent LGBTQ and minority advocate, an ingenious web designer, avid reader and writer, goodwill ambassador, charismatic philanthropist, a storyteller with a striking memory for detail, and a tenacious arts advocate.
Yet, to one and all, he was an open hand, mind, heart, ear, and soul. Enrique‘s life inspired the vision of limitless possibilities for which his organization, Nuvein, would become known.
Born in Tecomatlan, Jalisco, Mexico, Enrique immigrated here as a child with his parents and his four siblings. They lived in various parts of eastern Los Angeles, including City Terrace. A graduate of Roosevelt High School, Class of 1977, Enrique joined the Folklorico dance troupe while at the high school and, after graduating, performed with a professional dance troupe throughout the region. He also taught and choreographed Folklorico dances for youth in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In 1979, Enrique enlisted in the United States Navy, proudly serving on the USS New Jersey (BB-62), where he collaborated with like-minded servicemen to share written stories and essays. This group was the beginning of Nuvein Magazine, which in turn spawned the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts.
Nuvein Magazine began production in 1982, using a photocopy format and was distributed by hand and through the mail. After an honorable discharge from the US Navy, Enrique returned home to enroll at Cal Poly Pomona, earning his degree in 1992 in English Literature. All the while, Enrique was staying in contact and making new contacts for the relaunch of Nuvein Magazine online. In 1996, Nuvein Magazine made its debut on the web. This was the case up to the Fall of 2004.
During this time, Nuvein Magazine was available online and was also printed in anthology format and was one of the first online literary magazines on the World Wide Web. The writers who were part of Nuvein Magazine came from around the world. The magazine included voices from the community, ranging from entertainment to education.  Enrique made a point of being inclusive, with authors from many backgrounds and experiences – men, women, gay, straight, a vast range of cultural and ethnic diversity. As a Mexican immigrant to the US and a gay man, Enrique had great empathy for marginalized and misunderstood human beings, those considered “outsiders” or “different.”
Enrique was never confined by convention, and often surpassed it in amazing and wonderful ways. This was never more true than with respect to his devotion to the love of his life and husband, Jeffrey Bickel. He and Jeff met in 1986 at KPFK radio in Los Angeles. Jeff was a staff member at KPFK, and Enrique got to know him when they worked together on “IMRU”, an LGBTQ radio magazine. Shortly thereafter, in 1988, he and Jeff made a lifetime commitment to each other. From the beginning, Enrique called Jeff his husband, even though much of the world did not recognize their relationship. Enrique, always a visionary, knew that marriage equality was on the horizon. In 2000, Jeff and Enrique became registered domestic partners and were married on June 21, 2008.
Enrique was a tireless mentor to high school, collegiate, and adult students. His extensive teaching experience includes a 23-year teaching position at Mt San Antonio College. In addition, he taught at United Education Institute, Pasadena City College, El Dorado College, Palladium Technical Acadmemy, and, at his own school, Digital Business and Design College, “DBD”. Enrique and Jeff founded DBD in El Monte as a private, vocational college providing degrees in computer technology. DBD served students and business professionals from the Greater Los Angeles area, and provided a technical education for careers in web design, information technology, networking, and graphic design.
With his educational projects, technical school, and Nuvein magazine so well-received, Enrique was encouraged to organize a non-profit arts organization, the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts. He believed that the foundation could offer literature and arts programs and performances to young people and adults who lived in the San Gabriel Valley region and in communities throughout Southern California. The goal was to increase exposure to arts and literature for those communities that had been overlooked and underserved. This process began in 2004 through a series of collaborations with local schools, libraries, community centers, and chambers of commerce throughout the San Gabriel Valley. From 2004 to the present, Nuvein has continued to offer arts and cultural programming throughout the communities of the region. In 2007, Nuvein became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with the help of the community and business leaders from various San Gabriel Valley cities, and established its home in El Monte, California.
Prior to his unexpected passing in March of 2011, Enrique led Nuvein to launch a series of workshops and arts education programs out of  DBD, LA County Libraries, and local recreation centers in the region. His leadership also helped unite and support  groups such as the SGV Cartoonistas, as well as award arts scholarships to students pursuing digital/graphic design, animation, dance and other disciplines. Additionally, he supported the establishment of two of Nuvein’s biggest annual events – Dia de Los Muertos in El Monte and the San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo. This as well as countless other arts and cultural events that provided lasting connections between communities and their resident creative individuals.
Forever remembered as “our storyteller”, Enrique is sorely missed by the countless lives he enriched through his mentoring, entrepreneurship, artist collectives, scholarships, fundraising, and leadership in community service.  Despite his loss, Enrique ensured a lasting legacy that is carried on through the members of the Nuvein Foundation and through the important connections that are made to individuals and communities throughout the San Gabriel Valley and beyond as Nuvein’s mission continues on into the future.

Roberta Lujan


Roberta Lujan was born in Fabens, Texas, an isolated community surrounded by desert with a population of 1200. Seeking to explore beyond her small town, Roberta moved to California in 1976 where she met Nuvein founding member Enrique Diaz in 2003.

She has always been a people person and wanted to help children learn about the arts and craft-making. Thus with hardly a second thought, Enrique quickly convinced her to become part of the Nuvein Board in 2004, where she took lead in the marketing aspects of the organization. Roberta has had many years experience working with children and youth throughout the Whittier, Pico Rivera, and San Gabriel Valley area.

Roberta feels most proud of her children and all that they have accomplished thus far. Herself the middle child of 12, she recalls having to fight for everything, especially with her 9 sisters. It was her upbringing that showed her the value of working together.

Roberta has proudly served Nuvein in many capacities, often helping with organizing volunteers and soliciting charitable donations from local business and organizations. Roberta is a strong supporter of providing students with a proper arts education, especially those children who aren’t in a position to push for these opportunities that they need. She works diligently to provide our Nuvein Memorial Scholarships to local area students and helps Nuvein operate its meetings and programs efficiently as the Executive Board Sgt-at-Arms.

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Kimberly Cobian

Kimberly Cobian is a multi-faceted literary & performance artist & an arts and cultural community organizer from North Whittier, CA. She is an active educator, writer, and belly dancer. Fascinated by the Gypsy proverb: “How can you walk straight, when the road bends”. She believes artists do the same in their life whether its making it or creating it, the soul knows which is the “tacho drom”, or the truest path.

 

She has been in love with the written word since childhood, when she first began to express herself creatively, making use of her imagination. It was Christopher Trevilla, President of Nuvein who saw this very same passion in her at a poetry reading at Half Off Books in Whittier, and introduced himself and Nuvein to Kim over the course of a year, before formally inviting her to join the board as its current resident gitana poeta organizer. She has been a proud Director at Nuvein since January 2012.

 

Kimberly is also the President of the ZZyZx WriterZ, a dynamic group of poets, writers, musicians, artists, and performers from across Los Angeles. Based out of El Sereno/Alhambra, the ZZyZx WriterZ are one of the organizing influences behind the arts and culture renaissance of El Sereno, as they organize a monthly poetry and performance open mic at the thriving Holy Grounds Coffee and Tea.

 

Yet the grandest undertaking that the ZZyZx WriterZ take on under Kimberly’s leadership is the annual organization of PoetryPalooza, a yearly arts, poetry, and performance tour and showcase of community creativity that spans Los Angeles County. Poetrypalooza takes place annually each summer in August. The event tour is a huge passion project for Kimberly, who oversees multiple partnerships that ensure each event highlights the local culture, creativity, and artistry of each respective community. Kimberly is very proud and passionate about what she and the WriterZ have helped create and sustain with PoetryPalooza. Kimberly has seen how this passion project has served to unite and nurture all who share their gifts and attend this celebration unique to Los Angeles.

 

Poetry is important to Kimberly as it is a muse to the other art forms and vice versa, as well as being vital to younger generations who need a means to express their ideals, dreams, frustrations, and ideas. A successful published poet and acclaimed performer herself, Kimberly understands the importance of crafting personal yet universal statements through spoken word and movement. Her poetry has been featured in publications such as the ZZyZx WriterZ anthologies, the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, and other publications. Her performances, often combine her poetry with belly dance have been enjoyed as part of PoetryPalooza across LA, as well as the Green Salon in Downey, the San Gabriel Valley Literature Festival, the La Puente Artwalk, and many other venues, festivals, and events.

 

Kimberly is very motivated to share her poetry and help others while doing it. Aside from curating at Holy Grounds and directing PoetryPalooza, she has overseen and developed poetry workshops and organized the SGV Poetry in Motion teen and youth event at the Arcadia Library with Nuvein as part of the SGV Poetry Festival. Additionally, Kimberly has been the organizer of the Poet’s Corner at the La Puente Artwalk, a growing spoken word, music, and performance art destination during the quarterly event. In fact, she was one of the featured poets at the inaugural edition of the La Puente Artwalk, then organized solely by the Nuvein Foundation.

 

As a poet, Kimberly draws inspiration for her works from her personal experience and the shared experience of some of her favorite poets and authors. Among her favorite poems are “The Weary Blues” by Langston Hughes, “Romancero Gitano” by Federico Garcia Lorca, & “Full Moon and You’re Not Here” by Sandra Cisneros. As an organizer, she admittedly sees inspiration in the personal journeys and labors of her parents, who continue to inspire her to this day.

 

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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.

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Miguel Sankitts


Miguel Sankitts is a proud member of the Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts since 2004. He was invited to join the Foundation by its founder, Enrique Diaz, who saw great promise in him. Miguel met Enrique through a series of encounters at local El Monte and San Gabriel Valley Chamber mixers and meetings, as well as a personal invitation to explore the Digital Business and Design College. The experience combined three deep interests of his life  entrepreneurism, computers and technology, and the Arts. From there, Miguel’s dedication to Nuvein’s mission of spreading arts and culture began. He has proudly served as Vice President of Nuvein since its earliest days.  However, his passion and love for art, beauty and cuture began long ago.

As an American from the St. Croix US Virgin Islands, Miguel’s journey has crossed land and sea. He fell in love with art at an early age,  as a young boy with big dreams on a small Island. He immediately  fell in love with natural beauty of his homeland, often admiring  the landscapes he grew to love. This passion and admiration for beauty followed him when his family moved to the United States mainland. As a student in  junior high his artistic aspirations and inspirations were fostered and encouraged by his art teacher, who motivated him to draw and let his young mind wonder to new and exciting places and just draw. Additionally, in school he then  began to notice the art and beauty of different cultures.

Miguel prides himself to  have always thought outside the box, and is a keen and multifaceted problem solver and  change agent. He is a big believer in personal responsibility, self discipline, holistic health practices, and critical thinking. As a young man he became fascinated with martial arts and pursued the discipline of Muay Thai. This particular discipline has its origins in Thailand. Miguel sees the connection between all the different forms of art he has encountered in his life journey through its passion, love, patience, pain, and so much more.

As a member of Nuvein, Miguel is deeply committed to its vision and mission, as he often looks fo opportunities to share his personal story of his encounters with art to all who will listen so as to hopefully inspire someone to pursue their dreams, think outside the box, enjoy mother nature, be open to take advice, and to train and work hard to obtain whatever goals  one seeks to achieve in life. His message to all those interested in Nuvein and its work is that “Art is all around you, open your senses, hear it, feel it, see it, smell it, touch it. Remember art lives in all of us in one form or another.”

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Jeffrey Steven Bickel

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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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Bryan Coreas

Bryan Coreas is a native of La Puente, California and a proud graduate of Bassett High School. While studying at Pomona College, Bryan coordinated various initiatives including Pomona Partners, a program aimed at connecting with 7th and 8th graders to the prospect of college, the arts and current events. Always looking for new challenges, Bryan played the role of both mentor and actor as a part of Theatre for Young Audiences, an ever-growing transformative theatre program for middle and high school students at Fremont Academy.

After graduating with a B.A. in Mathematics, Bryan returned to Pomona College as the inaugural Post-Baccalaureate Fellow for Education Outreach at the Draper Center, coordinating the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success. His passion for education and art stems from his goal to see communities become proud of their heritage, especially in the local youth. His facilitation skills help to build relationships with the community by empowering its members to engage in dialogue that promotes educational and artistic achievement.

In his spare time, Bryan enjoys practicing his culinary skills and implementing daily exercise alongside his dog, all while capturing his adventures and the local landscape with his camera.

Since 2014, Bryan has proudly served Nuvein as the Executive Board Secretary and as Director of Educational Outreach.

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