Vilcek Foundation awards grant to Ayazamana Cultural Center

Supports Ecuadorian children’s dance program

New York City, NY (August 30, 2012)  The Vilcek Foundation announced today the award of a $10,000 grant to fund and expand the Children’s Dance Class Program at the Ayazamana Cultural Center in Queens, New York.

Founded by Ecuadorian-born dance director Jose Rivera in 1992, the Ayazamana Cultural Center promotes Ecuadorian culture in the United States by creating and sponsoring cultural events throughout the New York Tri-State area. The Center offers dance classes to children between the ages of seven and twelve, for minimal fees. Top students in these classes have the opportunity to perform with the Ayazamana Dance Company, which performs more than twelve colorful musical dances, including Albazo, Bomba, Cachullapi, Marimba, and San Junanito, in celebration of the multicultural demographics of Ecuador.

“The Vilcek Foundation is proud to support the Ayazamana Culture Center, a distinguished and vibrant non-profit dance company with specialized expertise in the diverse and traditional dances of Ecuador,” said Rick Kinsel, Executive Director of the Vilcek Foundation.

“Our mission,” he continued, “is to showcase and honor the accomplishments of foreign-born artists and scholars, as we believe there is no better way to promote a culture and its traditions than through the arts and sciences. And it gives us particular pleasure to encourage young talent through educational programs, such as those at the Ayazamana Cultural Center.”

For more information about Ayazamana Cultural Center, please visit

  • A Message from Jan and Marica Vilcek

    Our founders arrived as penniless refugees over fifty years ago, but with the kindness and opportunity they received in the United States, they went on to accomplish great things in biomedical science and art history. Read their statement on the recent executive order imposing a travel ban.