News Release| American Sabor; Cal State L.A.

October 25, 2013

Smithsonian’s ‘American Sabor’ traveling exhibition, showcasing influence of Latinos in American popular music, comes to Cal State L.A.

Local artists Alice Bag, Los Lobos, Los Illegals, Quetzal and more featured in exhibit

Los Angeles, CA – American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music,” a traveling exhibition that showcases the profound influence Latino musicians have had on traditional genres of music in the U.S., will be on display Nov. 16 through Feb. 9, 2014 in California State University, Los Angeles’ (CSULA) Fine Arts Gallery. The University will host a public open house Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (agenda below). The day-long celebration will include guided tours of the exhibition, and feature Latino music, art, film and dance.

Developed by EMP Museum and the University of Washington, and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES), “American Sabor,” its national tour and related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. The exhibit showcases the musical contributions of Latinos from the 1940s to the present and the influence they have had on such genres as jazz, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and hip-hop. “American Sabor” also explores the social history and individual creativity that produced renowned musicians and performers, such as Tito Puente, Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana and Selena. Musician Mark Guerrero, a CSULA alumnus and son of the legendary Mexican American musician Lalo Guerrero, is also featured in the exhibit.

“Cal State L.A. is excited to partner with ‘American Sabor’ in celebration of the rich music and cultural heritage of Latinos in the U.S. Much like ‘American Sabor’ itself, the university provides the exhibit a perfect venue that incorporates art, music and learning for students and the community,” said Peter McAllister, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at CSULA. “We are also proud to host the exhibition in Los Angeles, which makes sense since many renowned Latino musicians have their roots in Los Angeles. Some have performed their first gigs in the university’s backyard.”

“American Sabor” (sabor is the Spanish word for taste or flavor, commonly used to describe good music) is a 2,500-square-foot learning experience designed for smaller museums and cultural centers. 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 exhibition also documents the roles of post-World War II U.S. Latino musicians as interpreters and disseminators of Latin American genres while highlighting their innovations in various traditional U.S. genres.

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

“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.

“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.”

The exhibition is complemented by an interactive website ( that 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.

Nov. 16 Open House Agenda:

  • 10 a.m.“American Sabor” opens to the public – Fine Arts Gallery
  • 11 a.m.Latin Drumming Workshop – Music Recital Hall
  • 11:30 a.m. Cha Cha Dance Workshop – King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 12:30 p.m. CSULA Mariachi Ensemble – Walkway Concert Area
  • 1:30 p.m. Salsa Dance Workshop – King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 2 p.m. Latin Jazz Music Workshop – Music Recital Hall
  • 3 p.m. CSULA Salsa Club Performance – Walkway Concert Area
  • 4 p.m. Salsa Dance Workshop – King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 5:30 p.m. CSULA Afro-Latin Ensemble – Walkway Concert Area

The exhibition at CSULA is bolstered through dynamic community and educational programs. For a listing of the music concert series, speaker forums, dance workshops, film series and a music contest, go to:

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter at #AmericanSabor.

The exhibit is located in CSULA’s Fine Arts Gallery, building 9A.The University is located at 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, at the interchange of the 10 and 710 Freeways. Exit Eastern Avenue from the 10 Freeway. Free parking permits for the media are available at the Info/Welcome Center on Paseo Rancho Castilla Ave. Park in Parking Structure C or Lot 5. For a campus map: /sites/default/files/univ/ppa/campus_map.pdf.

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Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 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

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.

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 works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life.For more than 60 years, Ford Motor Company Fundhas operated with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company.The award-winningFord Driving Skills for Lifeprogram teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in educationis encouragedthroughnational programs that enhance high schoollearning and provide college scholarships anduniversity 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

About Cal State L.A.: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 230,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. Visit