For Immediate Release

March 7, 2013

Media Contact: Rebecca Nevarez



Celebrating National Poetry Month in Pasadena with

California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

LoWriters, El Pan Dulce Rebellion & the Power of Unity



(Pasadena, CA)   In celebration of National Poetry Month,  the Latino Arts Network of California and Latino Heritage will host California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera on several upcoming appearances in Pasadena, CA.  Since his appointment by Governor Jerry Brown last year, Juan Felipe Herrera has been traveling the state eliciting words, stanzas and poems from the public and urging Californians to get involved with poetry and celebrate its vital place in American culture. His Pasadena stops will begin at La Pintoresca Teen Education Center, continue on to Pasadena City College and lead up to a special presentation at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 2:00-5:00pm.


Two Dates/Three Stops:


  • La Pintoresca Teen Education Center (LPTEC) ~ Tuesday, March 19, 2013 4:00-6:30 pm. This workshop is open to LPTEC “Teen Voices” poetry group and special guests.


Juan Felipe Herrera will lead a special poetry workshop for the “Teen Voices” poetry group at LPTEC.  Angela Aguirre, local poet and instructor, will join the master and engage students in a discussion and exercise on the meaning and power of the idea, UNITY.


  • Pasadena City College ~ Tuesday, March 19, 2013 7:00-8:30 pm for a special reception hosted by several campus organizations.  This reception is open to PCC students and invited guests.


Juan Felipe Herrera will also visit Pasadena City College for a special reception hosted by several campus organizations, which is open to students, faculty and staff.  Along the way, he will continually encourage participants to submit words and stanzas for his various poetry projects on migration, healing and unity.


  • KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum ~ Saturday, April 27th 2:00pm-5:00pm

474 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91105

This event is open to the general public. Reservations are required and will soon be available at:


“An Afternoon of Poetry with Juan Felipe Herrera California Poet Laureate” will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 2:00-5:00pm at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum. The event will include a conversation with Herrera where he will present the work created with Pasadena youth as well as his various other projects such as LoWriters, El Pan Dulce Rebellion and Unity Poems on PoemFlow. The afternoon will include a brief interview/Q&A with Maestro Herrera moderated by actress Rose Portillo, followed by an “Exquisite Corpse” collaborative literary exercise with the audience, on the meaning and power of UNITY.


Exquisite Corpse is a literary device by which many writers can collaborate on a piece, adding to or building upon the previous writing.  For example, a writer begins a poem with a stanza, and then another continues upon it, and a third adds to that, and so on. The theme may be a guideline but it can also be at the disposal of each writer to take the work into a new tangent, thus creating a wending narrative that has a number of voices, all about a topic or theme, or variations thereof.


Juan Felipe Herrera In the late sixties, Juan Felipe Herrera became involved with the new socially centered poetics and the street teatro Civil Rights movement – reading and performing at schools, prisons, farm worker camps and in many college campuses across the nation. With over forty years on the road and twenty-nine books published in poetry, spoken word, novels for young adults and collections for children, he continues to work for all audiences. His recent awards for his writing include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, the Latino International Award, the PEN USA award and the Josephine Miles Pen/ Oakland Award.  He is a member of the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poetry.  He served as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair for seven years and is currently professor of creative writing at UC-Riverside.  


Juan Felipe’s favorite color is Chile Verde green and he says, “If you want to write for the people pour kindness inside every word.”


The Latino Arts Network of California (LAN) is a statewide alliance of non-profit community cultural centers, artists and patrons. LAN 2013 programing includes presenting Juan Felipe Herrera, the poet Laureate of California in Pasadena as well as producing a Southern California convening of Latino based dance organizations in June 2013 at Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center in East Los Angeles.  LAN also initiated the MAESTRO Program, which recognizes unsung community heroes in arts and cultural leadership throughout the diverse statewide communities. To date, 10 California artists/cultural workers have been recognized for their mentorship and contributions.


LAN Executive Director, Rebecca Nevarez states, “Maestro Herrera is the first Chicano Poet Laureate in the history of California.  His work reflects the core vision of our membership and partnering groups and it is an honor and privilege to celebrate his poetry with local organization Latino Heritage in Pasadena.”


Latino Heritage is dedicated to promoting knowledge of Latino experience and history through cultural and educational programs in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley.  The organization’s largest program is the annual Latino Heritage Parade & jamaica


Sponsors:  This program is brought to you by the Latino Arts Network of California, Latino Heritage, La Pintoresca Teen Education Center, Pasadena City College and is supported in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission, City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division and the California Arts Council.





For Immediate Release
August 30, 2012
Media Contact: Rebecca Nevarez
(626) 692-6560


(Pasadena, CA) In Pasadena, if you want to know about the Latino community, or the cultural heritage of that community, you seek out Roberta H. Martínez. She is the one who wrote the book, literally, and she has been a champion of diversity and participation for over twenty- five years. She is now one of ten Californians selected to receive the 2012 Maestro Award from The Latino Arts Network of California (LAN).

The Maestros Award instigated by LAN and supported by the California Arts Council, is a recognition of unsung heroes, artists and cultural workers who have been working in their communities over years, serving the public through their endeavors in arts and culture without much fanfare, fame or fortune.

“We hope this modest award helps the California public understand that there are a legion of good people like Roberta that have dedicated their life work to making art and culture important in the daily lives of the people they impact, making our state a better place to live,” says Executive Director of LAN, Rebecca Nevarez.

Roberta H. Martínez is a Los Angeles native who grew up in East LA. She’s lived in Pasadena with her husband, James Grimes, a systems engineer most of her adult life. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, a Master of Arts in Music history and is an independent scholar and historical interpreter.

Roberta has served as Chair of the Arts and Culture, as well as the Library Commission, of the City of Pasadena. She sits on the Pasadena Senior Center board. Roberta is also the author of Latinos In Pasadena, Images of Americas Series by Arcadia Publishing. She writes regularly on her blog A Pasadena Latina Roberta is Executive Director of Latino Heritage an organization dedicated to promoting knowledge of Latino experience and history through arts and cultural programs in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley.

Every year, Latino Heritage presents the annual parade and jamica, a project which offers historical education by showcasing diverse and positive role models. The diversity of our roots is reflected in the presentations: through dance, food, living history and music. This year’s theme is “Planting Dreams: Sembrando Sueños,” and the presentation of the theme reflects a thread of our experience. The coordinating committee is composed of Latino Heritage board members, Pasadena city staff, and community members who help define the theme, offer support and contribute volunteer hours toward the parade & jamaica. More info on this year’s event at

But at the heart of all of it is Roberta Martínez, demonstrating her tireless and dedicated leadership and energy that keeps the event going on year after year, working to insure the presence of Latinos for the benefit of all of Pasadena. This year, it is her work that will be recognized at the Latino Heritage Parade and Jamiaca on October 6th, Tomas Benitez, President of the Latino Arts Network, and a former parade marshal, will present her award.

In spring of 2013 Latino Arts Network will present an evening of poetry and reading with Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Chicano Poet Laureate of California. LAN is collaborating with Latino Heritage as well as other local interests to present this free program, made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division; details to be announced later.
“When we first got the idea to do this evening, we knew we had to start with the right person in Pasadena to make sure we would be in touch with all the vested community interests and resources, so we went to Roberta Martínez,” says Benitez.

The LAN MAESTRO Prize is made possible with generous support from the California Arts Council and Sino Tequila.

The Latino Arts Network (LAN) is a nonprofit statewide organization that is dedicated to strengthening and promoting California’s Latino Arts. LAN will continue its partnership with the California Arts Council in 2012-13 to identify and honor individuals who are masters of cultural practice working in communities throughout California. The LAN MAESTRO Award was designed to recognize artists and cultural workers who have demonstrated a commitment to community-based work and/or who have distinguished themselves as Masters in their field. LAN will present five additional awards over the next year, nominations are ongoing. For more information go to