Place of Birth: Havana
Title: Owner, de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space
Impact: Rosa de la Cruz and her husband, Carlos, fled Cuba for the U.S. during the Castro revolution and eventually made their fortune from soft drink bottling plants throughout the Caribbean. A passing interest in Latin American art in the ’70s transformed into a passion for contemporary art, or as de la Cruz has called it, “a collection that defines the 21st century” and a mission to share her excitement with others. As one of Miami’s most prominent art collectors, de la Cruz has helped make the city a global arts hub, and she is outspoken about the need to make art accessible to all. For nearly three decades, her home—a 15,000-square-foot museum-like estate on Key Biscayne, where art, including pieces by Martin Kippenberger, Félix González-Torres and Sigmar Polke, is the focus—has been available to the public by appointment. And in 2009, she opened a three-story space in downtown Miami to house the rest of her collection, the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space. Her influence expands beyond Miami through her global connections and her family: In 2017, her son Alberto will debut a gallery in Georgetown, Md.