Mission, Vision & History


Our mission is to promote Ecuadorian culture and heritage in New York City through the arts by collaborating with local artists and community groups. This enables us to offer low- or no-cost programming and events that allow anyone who has an interest in learning about our culture to live the Ecuadorian experience. Our expectation is, through our work, to contribute to the ongoing efforts to increase cultural awareness and tolerance within our city.

To fulfill our mission, we partner with Ecuadorian and Ecuadorian-American artists, cultural promoters, and community-based groups. The resources and support we provide include (but are not limited to) rehearsal and performance space, project management, marketing, fundraising, and leadership and management training. By providing these means and resources, we assure these individuals can develop strong projects and maximize their potential. In turn, these partnerships will result in reaching broader audiences.

Who are Ecuadorians and Ecuadorian-Americans in NYC?
Ecuadorians and Ecuadorian-Americans living in NYC are multigenerational, multiethnic, multilingual, and are in different stages of the immigrant experience. They’ve also had various degrees of exposure to Ecuadorian culture. It is our millennial heritage expressed through our history, cultural manifestations, and artistic expressions what unites us as a community.


Our vision is to live in a society where Ecuadorian culture is well-known and respected.

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The Ecuadorian American Cultural Center was founded in April 2009. It was founded by three Ecuadorian visionaries living in New York City who wanted to help preserve and diffuse Ecuadorian culture within the community, especially the new generations of Ecuadorian-Americans. Jose Rivera had been directing the Ayazamana Dance Group since 1992. Esau Chauca was involved in other Ecuadorian organizations that offered cultural and social services. Justo Santos was involved in community organizations as well, and also directed an Ecuadorian dance group. 

In May of 2008, Jose Rivera, Justo Santos, and Esau Chauca decided to work together to establish a dance group for children. As the work with the children’s dance group progressed, they also began to work on the Ayazamana Dance Group. In April of 2009, they decided the best option was to formally incorporate the organization as a not-for-profit in the State of New York; the Ayazamana Dance Group and the children’s dance program were the first two programs of the center. In 2014, the organization received its 501(c)3 status.

Throughout the years, the Ecuadorian American Cultural Center has continued to grow and have a wider acceptance within the community. This has enabled the organization to expand its programming, host its own events, manage its own spaces, increase staffing, work with more artists and artisans, and obtain new funding.