San Francisco honors guitar legend Santana 

One of San Francisco’s most famous sons, famed guitarist and philanthropist Carlos Santana, will be honored next month for his artistic contributions to The City.

Santana, a native of Mexico who grew up in San Francisco and graduated from Mission High School, will be feted March 18 with the Mayor’s Art Award, the third recipient to receive the recognition from Gavin Newsom.

Santana crafted a name for himself while playing his brand of Latin-tinged rock ’n’ roll in the late 1960s as a part of the influential Bay Area music scene that included luminaries such as Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. He drew particular praise for his guitar wizardry, which was on full display during his performance of “Soul Sacrifice” that landed on the legendary soundtrack of the 1969 Woodstock concert. In 1999, 30 years after he released his debut record, Santana won nine Grammy awards for his album, “Supernatural,” which went on to sell 15 million copies worldwide.

Equally as remarkable as his artistic achievements are Santana’s philanthropic contributions, particularly in the Bay Area. The Milagro Foundation, started by Santana and his wife in 1998, has raised more than $3 million for underserved youth in the region to access art, health and educational materials.

“Carlos Santana is without a doubt one of San Francisco’s most beloved icons,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “His music transcends not only musical genres, but also cultural, geographical and political boundaries.”

By receiving the Mayor’s Art Award, Santana follows past honorees Ruth Asawa, a sculptor, and Alonzo King, a choreographer.
Santana was selected from a search committee under the direction of the San Francisco Arts Commission.

“Following our first two award winners, we wanted to find some from a different form of performing arts,” said Luis Cancel, director of Cultural Affairs for the Arts Commission. “Santana’s name came up, and we just knew he would be a perfect match.”

Santana will be presented with the Mayor’s Art Award on March 18 in the Green Room at the War Memorial Veterans Building, in an event hosted by the Arts Commission.

Carlos Santana

- Born in Mexico, grew up in San Francisco. Graduated from Mission High in 1965.
- Has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.
- Winner of 10 Grammy awards, including Album of the Year, for "Supernatural" in 1999.
- His group, Santana, is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- The Milagro Foundation, established by Santana and his wife, has raised more than $3 million for underserved youth.

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Will Reisman

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