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Celia Cruz, the ‘Queen of Salsa’, gets new exhibit at the MIM


PHOENIX – The Musical Instrument Museum, in partnership with the Celia Cruz Legacy Project, have created a new display honoring the internationally celebrated Salsa singer. Musically brilliant and always hip, Celia Cruz was among the most treasured Hispanic American artists of all time.

“If Celia Cruz hadn’t come to the United States in the 1960s, already an internationally celebrated Cuban singer, we’d be telling a different history of salsa music,” said MIM Latin American and Carribean curator, Daniel Piper. “A matriarch – ‘The Queen’ – Celia was essential to New York City’s youthful Latin music movement, and she never stopped producing major hits even in the last years of her life.”

On display is a stage dress Celia Cruz wore from her 1992 Jazz at Lincoln Center concert with Tito Puente along with her signature sculpture shoes. This style of shoe started by Cruz is still a trend seen in popular fashion today. Also on display is a pair of maracas gifted to Cruz by renowned Cuban band, La Sonora Matancera. Video clips of the singer highlight her infectious energy and commanding stage presence. Included is a performance of Celia Cruz with New York City pioneer salsa group, the Fania All-Stars.

Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba and became one of the most successful and iconic Salsa singer in the world. This garnered her the title ‘Queen of Salsa’, which she carried with class and distinction for more than half a century. Her powerful voice and electrifying rhythm amassed more than 100 worldwide recognitions, multiple platinum and gold records, three GRAMMY awards and four Latin GRAMMY awards, three honorary doctorates, the Presidential Medal of Arts, and a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Her boundless enthusiasm, genuine warmth, and deep-seated humanitarianism made Celia Cruz the Latin music industry’s most accomplished and revered performer and the world’s most notable ambassador of Hispanic Culture.

The Celia Cruz Legacy Project was founded by Omer Pardillo Cid to celebrate Celia Cruz’s accomplishments and achievements as the world’s most iconic salsa singer. It collects, safeguards and makes accessible materials, documents, photographs, video footage, stage dresses and pieces from Celia Cruz’s personal collection to keep the Legacy of Celia Cruz alive for generations to come.

For more information on those and other MIM exhibits, visit

The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, in Phoenix (corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of Loop 101).