Mission, Vision & History


Our mission is to promote and educate about Ecuadorian and Ecuadorian American culture in New York City through the arts. We accomplish this by partnering with local artists, cultural promoters, and community-based groups to offer low- or no-cost programming and events that allow anyone who has an interest in learning about the Ecuadorian experience, culture, and heritage. Our expectation is that through our work we contribute to the ongoing efforts of increasing cultural awareness and tolerance within our city.

The resources and support we provide to our partners include (but are not limited to) rehearsal and performance space, leadership and management training, project management, marketing and fundraising. By providing these means and resources, we assure these individuals and groups can maximize their potential and reach broader audiences.


Our vision is to live in a society where Ecuadorian culture is acknowledged and recognized.


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.