Exhibit Exploring Latino Influence in American Popular Music Ends Four-Year National Tour in Phoenix

(PHOENIX) The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) brings “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” to the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC) in downtown Phoenix, April 11 through July 5, for the final leg of the exhibit’s 12-city nationwide tour.

The exhibition’s four-year national tour and related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. It was developed by EMP Museum and the University of Washington, and organized for travel by SITES. “American Sabor” will be on display at ALAC, 147 E. Adams St, Phoenix, Ariz., 85004, April 11 through July 5. Admission is free and open to the public.

“‘American Sabor’ is fun, engaging and educational, all at the same time. It will inspire our communities. Most importantly, we’re convinced this interactive exhibition is going to open so many people’s eyes to the profound influence Latinos have had for decades on American pop music,” said ErLinda Tórres, President/CEO of the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center.

“American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” presents the musical contributions of U.S. Latinos from the 1940s to the present, exploring the social history and individual creativity that produced stars like Tito Puente, Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana and Selena.

“The impact of Latino musicians on American popular music moves beyond the unmistakable rhythms and dance,” said Myriam Springuel, interim director of SITES. “‘American Sabor’ tells the broader story of Latino communities and how their artistry expresses their experiences as Americans.”

“Sabor” is the Spanish word for taste or flavor, commonly used to describe good music. The exhibit documents the roles of U.S. Latino musicians, after World War II, as interpreters and disseminators of Latin American genres while highlighting their innovations in various traditional U.S. genres.

“Ford Motor Company Fund is proud to support ‘American Sabor’ as part of our long-standing commitment to Hispanic arts and culture,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Visitors to the exhibition will experience the many contributions that Hispanic musicians have made to American music and the richness of Latino sounds.”

“American Sabor” focuses on five major centers of Latino popular music production—New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio and San Francisco—that represent the remarkable diversity of this music. Each city section explores the broader histories and cultures that created the music from those areas, including how the musical innovations of Latino youths crossed ethnic and racial boundaries and helped shape American popular music, how immigration and migration influenced Latino and U.S. popular music and the ways in which Latinos have musically expressed their experiences as Americans.

Based on the 5,000-square-foot exhibition of the same name created by EMP in partnership with the University of Washington, “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” is a 3,000-square-foot educational experience designed totravel to community-based institutions, such as libraries, cultural centers and museums. With engaging bilingual (English and Spanish) text panels, striking graphics and photographs, a dance floor and compelling listening stations and films, the exhibition celebrates the true flavor, or “sabor,” of Latin music in the United States.

The exhibit in Phoenix will be bolstered by lively community and educational programs spearheaded by ALAC, including the following:

“American Sabor” Open House—part of First Friday’s Downtown Phoenix on Friday, May 1, 2015—is a day-long celebration that will feature docent-guided exhibition tours, music by local Latino groups, and dance performances. The event will include indoor and outdoor activities.

Music and dance workshops to be held every Saturday afternoon and evening in the Civic Center Park of Downtown Phoenix throughout the exhibition presentation. Dance classes will include salsa and other Latin styles. (Detailed scheduled to be announced.)

In-school programming and ALAC “American Sabor” tours, April 14 through June 15, 2015. All “American Sabor” programs are offered free of charge to Valley-area public and private schools.

Outdoor Mural Jam behind ALAC on Friday, June 5, 2015. Local visual artists will participate in an “American Sabor” mural jam session, with music, dance and food trucks, reflecting the exhibitions mission and influence.

Arizona Sabor Two-day Music Fest in cooperation with the Herberger Theater Center will feature live music and dance May 2-3 at the Herberger Theater Center. The two-day music experience will feature “Arizona Sabor” on May 2, highlighting local and regional music talent from the maestros to emerging contemporary and traditional Latino artists. ALAC is searching for the best youth Latin bands and vocalists for the “American Sabor” Youth Contest on May 3. Ford will award a total of $10,000 in prizes.

First Friday Art Link will feature the exhibition in April, May and June.

The “American Sabor” exhibition is complemented by an interactive website—www.americansabor.orgthat includes expanded exhibition content, historic photographs, lesson plans, video oral histories from Latin music stars, a jukebox featuring a special “American Sabor” playlist and a mixing-board interactive activity.

Details about the Phoenix exhibition of “American Sabor” at ALAC can be found at alacaz.org or by contacting ErLinda Tórres, ALAC President and CEO, 602.793.1293 and LindaTorres@alacaz.org; or Jeffrey Lazos Ferns, ALAC Director of Special Projects and Development, 602.299.9576.


ALAC: Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in Downtown Phoenix

Founded in 2009, the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC) is a coalition of Latino artists and art organizations that celebrates and promotes the Latino presence in Arizona through education and advocacy. ALAC is led by Co-founder and President/CEO ErLinda Tórres and located in the heart of downtown Phoenix. A first-of-its-kind in Arizona, it serves as a beacon of cultural and artistic expression through art exhibits, film, theater, presentations, lectures, live performances and literary readings.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu.

EMP Museum

EMP Museum is dedicated to the exploration of creativity and innovation in popular music. By blending interpretive, interactive exhibitions with cutting-edge technology, EMP captures and reflects the essence of rock ’n’ roll, its roots in jazz, soul, gospel, country and the blues, as well as rock’s influence on hip-hop, punk and other recent genres. Visitors can view rare artifacts and memorabilia and experience the creative process by listening to musicians tell their stories.

University of Washington

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest state-supported institutions of higher education on the West Coast and is one of the preeminent research universities in the world.

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life.  For more than 60 years, Ford Motor Company Fund has operated with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and dealers work on projects each year that better their communities in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.

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Former Super Bowl Player Supports ALAC & Quincea’s Art Works for Charity Event


The celebration on Adams Street during the Super Bowl NFL Experience activities provides an ideal opportunity to “Tell Our Stories” and as a result, Jose Portilla, retired NFL Super Bowl player and former board member of ALAC, will be featured as a contributing artists at ALACs event during Super Bowl festivities. Originally born in Zaragoza Coahuila, Mexico, Portilla moved to Texas when he was six years old and began his passion for arts and football. During his professional career with the Atlanta Falcons, he and his team had won the National Football Conference Championship in 1998 and participated in Super Bowl XXXIII the following year. In his retirement, Portilla enjoys spending time working on his art and has been featured in many esteemed galleries.

Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC), in partnership with Quincea, a social enterprise, are launching Art Works for Charity, a social brand product initiative that bridges indigenous, contemporary and traditional artists of the southwest with social enterprise. The charity event net proceeds are used to support new social ventures employing veterans and disabled adults.  Artists will create products through use of upcycling and repurposed furniture.

As a former Army Officer and current veteran, I am extremely pleased that we can partner with ALAC and the talented artisans to generate funds to launch a social enterprise business employing veterans and disabled adults facing employment challenges.  Our goal is to serve those who served their country and create at least $5 in value from earned veterans’ wages and healthcare cost savings for every $1 we generate from the sale of the artworks”, says Morgan Lerette, Chairman of the Board of Quincea.

In Art Works for Charity, the artists will learn about the values and missions of Quincea and what they are contributing to produce more sustainable communities. The artists in turn will interpret that mission statement into artwork and apply their ideas to the repurposed furniture and products. One reason this project is special is because most emerging and well-established artists do not have other revenue streams, so this project will serve as a double where the Art Works of Charity products will financially support Quincea’s initiatives and the community that they’re serving, and these artists’ work will be creating new revenue streams for themselves on a national scale. It is a very exciting project for our artists, especially for an emerging artist who solely looks at their paintings as being a means of income, when all of a sudden there are five or six products from one painting that then become viable income streams. Furthermore, ALAC and Quincea will be teaching sustainable business practices and entrepreneurial skills to these artists through workshops and one-on-one engagement.

By bridging cultures and communities through Art Works for Charity, the public is able to hear others’ stories through paintings, products, and merchandising. This project takes these diverse communities, that otherwise don’t integrate, and brings them together under an umbrella of community service and in turn form sustainable pathways, strong relationships and better understandings. ALAC President CEO, Linda Tórres, says “it’s an opportune time and is proud to establish a partnership with Quincea, President, Jon Hall.” They asked themselves, “How do we make a better world through Art Works for Charity?” And upon reflection, Jon Hall and Linda Torres began to see these multicultural aspects coming together under one roof, for a good cause, and bridges happen. Humanity happens.

One thing Arizona is known for are the five C’s. Unfortunately, one of the C’s is not culture. Our hope, through this project, is that all these other aspects bring cultures together, bring people who are remotely disconnected in an urban environment, and will then bridge and cause a better Arizona to happen.

Super Bowl Artist Mercado!

The Super Bowl is right around the corner. ALAC will be hosting a Mercado so that attendees can have a taste of Latino Culture. Don’t hesitate to come by and support our local artists!

Participating artist are:

Escalera Art Inc (www.escaleraart.com)

Cha-Cha ChiC (www.cha-chachic.com)

Art De Las Tres Mujeres (www.artdelastresmujeres.com)

Mi Oaxaca Imports (FB: Oaxaca Imports)

Mama Chelos (www.mamachelos.com)

Jose Portilla

Jose Arias


Super Bowl

Be part of it all! In January we are turning the main gallery into an Artist Mercado to run through the Super Bowl. We have 8’x8’ spaces available for booths. This would be from January 6, 2015 through February 2, 2015. This is a special artist “Invitation Only”, but if you are interested or would like more information contact Jose Andres Giron at 602-300-2752. If you have already received an invitation, let us know if you are interested to reserve your space!