It’s been nearly 10 years since Celia Cruz passed away… But she’s remained one of the most influential artists in Latin music… And, now she’ll be memorialized in our nation’s capital.
The legendary Cuban-American singer—known as the “Queen of Salsa” —will be the subject of a new biographical portrait by Robert Weingarten, a noted photographic artist, at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
As part of the museum’s “Frame an Iconic American” contest, officials selected five iconic American figures who represented a different set of ideas. And after more than 11,000 votes cast, Cruz’s story of immigration, music and entertainment resonated with a clear majority of the voters.
“The comments on our contest pages hint at some of the challenges museum staff face when thinking about how we collect, preserve and present history” says Shannon Perich, curator of the upcoming Pushing Boundaries: Portraits by Robert Weingarten exhibition. “Which stories do we tell and why? For some commenters, local allegiances were most important. For some, having a personal connection was the deciding factor. Others wrestled with the various ways in which we recognize the many kinds of contributions our heroes make to our society. This dynamic dialogue is important and we thank you for sharing your points of view with us.”
Cruz, who passed away in July 2003 at the age of 77, recorded more than 80 albums and songs, many of which went gold or platinum, during a professional career that spanned more than 60 years. Cruz, who became known around the world for her piercing and powerful voice and larger-than-life personality and stage costumes, won five Grammy Awards and received various other honors for her contributions to Latin music. She collaborated with Gloria Estefan, Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Rivera, David Byrne, Wyclef Jean and many other musical legends.