Looking to attend a cultural event in Quito? Here are a few of our favourites in 2018.
JANUARY – FEBRUARY
Ecuador Jazz 2018
Now in its 14th year, the Ecuador Jazz festival has become a cultural highlight on the Quiteño calendar, attracting international jazz megastars and up-and-coming underground performers. The likes of Charles Bradley, Joss Stone and Tony Allen have played to a packed out Teatro Nacional Sucre, often ending up in dancing spilling out into the aisles. This year, American performer Lizz Wright and Cuban quintet Yissy & Bandancha top the bill – buy your ticket in advance from the Teatro Nacional Sucre box office to guarantee your seat or watch as the show is broadcast onto screens on Plaza del Teatro.
- Where? Teatro Nacional Sucre – Plaza del Teatro
- When? 31 January – 04 February
DesMARCADOS Indigenismos, arte y política 1917 – 2017
Quito’s Centro Cultural Metropolitano hosts an exhibition with the lens firmly trained on indigenous art over the last century, examining its social impact and denouncement of the imbalance of power tipped against indigenous women, workers and Afro-Ecuadorians. See the raw debates rage and discover the country’s unique indigenous identity in works by Camilo Egas, Leonardo Tejada and Oswaldo Guayasamín, perhaps Ecuador’s most famous painter.
- Where? Centro Cultural Metropolitano
- When? 12 January – 13 May / 09h00 a 17h00
En mis 15 años, encuentro de arte y comunidad al zur-ich
(At 15, meeting of art and community in zur-ich)
Zur-ich is the consequence of joint work between artists and communities, putting forward the search for the mechanisms of relation, circulation, diffusion and artistic production with the city and its key players.
To achieve this the project has established spaces for dialogue and work in neighbourhoods whose imaginations, traditions, customs and memories are the principal references used for the creation of the narratives of the artistic proposals.
- Where? Centro de Arte Contemporáneo
- When? 1st January – 29th April
December 16, 2017 – May 13, 2018
The Municipality of Quito, through the Centro Cultural Metropolitano (MetQUITO) and the Fundación Museos (Museums Foundation) from the Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum), presents the exhibition desMARCADOS, Indigenismos, Arte y Política. This exhibition seeks to distance itself from or look critically at, the dominant thoughts about what it means to be indigenous in Ecuador, creating a dialogue between art and politics throughout the last century.
San José el Santo Silencioso
November 29, 2017 – March 26, 2018
This temporary exhibition addresses various aspects related to San José, one of the most representative personalities within the Christian liturgy. The spectator may observe, through twenty works of art dated between the 18th and 19th centuries, a plethora of valuable historical facts. These pertain to the father of Jesus of Nazareth, his disciples and their importance within Christianity.
MARCH TO APRIL 2018
Humanas. Mujeres en el arte (Humans. Women in art)
This exhibition brings together works by Ecuadorian women within the last 100 years, revealing women as creators of art. From the beginning of the 20th-century women have been seen as generators of their own aesthetic, style and artistic technique.
All this comes together in a landmark moment for Ecuadorian art.
The works of 26 women show how they have blown stereotypes to pieces and shrugged off traditional gender roles.
- Where? Palacio de Gobierno
- When? 5th March – 13th April
Miradas pendientes (Pending gazes)
The Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum), in collaboration with the organisation Acción Ecológica, presents the exhibition “Miradas Pendientes, 10 años de los Derechos de la Naturaleza” (Pending gazes, 10 years of the rights of nature). The photographic showcase documents travel along the #VerdadParaLaVida route, made up of works that demonstrate what has happened in Ecuador since the rights of nature were recognised in 2008.
This collaborative work seeks to raise consciousness and invite reflection on the rights of nature, from the daily life of communities and towns to extraction projects.
- Where? Museo de la ciudad.
- When? 15th March – 15th April
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Few places on Earth venerate grief and penitence so passionately, or centre an entire celebration on the sombre notions of guilt and death, as Quito during Holy Week.
With an emphasis on passionate, yet anonymous, displays of penitence and atonement, 200,000 of Ecuador’s most devoted Catholics self-flagellate, carry bone-breakingly heavy crosses and bleed from self-inflicted wounds: all while dressed in macabre purple cone hats masking their faces, dramatic capes, or wrapped in barbed wire, accompanied by fervent, nightmarish live music.
Though the festivity reaches its feverish peak on the Good Friday parade (for which the best seats in the house are Casa Gangotena’s terrace), mysterious and colourful events and traditions take place throughout the Lent period, from the strange and cultish Arrastre de Caudas or the “Dragging of the Capes” on Holy Wednesday, to the rich and delicious fanesca soup guzzled throughout the city.
Mariela Condo, tour 2018
Quito gets its own date on this tour of the new versions of three of the albums of Shuk Shimi, ‘Waranka shimi’ (2007), ‘Vengo a ver’ (2013) and ‘Pinceladas’ (2015), together with other songs that give us a taste of the latest release. Mariela Condo will be accompanied by Rodrigo Becerra on double bass and Willan Farinango on the guitar. Willan is also behind the direction and musical arrangements.
- Where: Teatro Variedades Ernesto Albán
- When: 28th April
Salsa & Bachata Tournament
Watch world-class dancers shimmy, shake and swing themselves towards the champion’s trophy in this salsa and bachata tournament at the Casa de la Música. A flurry of sequins and synthetic fabrics, the competition is an opportunity to see the most colourful and passionate field of Latino culture.
- Where? Casa de la Música
JUNE – JULY
Inti Raymi – Kitu Milenario e intercultural (Hatun Puncha 2018)
For hundreds of years, Ecuadorians and their Incan forbearers have celebrated the sun festival Inti Raymi (“inti” is the Quechua word for “sun”), giving thanks for the harvest and the life it brings, traditionally on the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Inti Raymi – Kitu Milenario e intercultural, a four-day event in Old Town’s Plaza Santo Domingo, highlights the diversity of cultural identities among the myriad Ecuadorian peoples, with music and dancing, colourful masks and costumes, and all sorts of local food. There will be traditional arts and crafts and the opportunity to listen to local folk legends.
For a brief window from mid-June to September, Quito’s weather becomes everyone’s definition of perfect: sunny and dry with a light breeze and a golden hue in the afternoons.
It’s during this period that the city’s most exciting music event takes place, the much-anticipated Verano de los Artes (Summer of Arts). For three weekends over August, Itchimbia park, a lovely expanse of gardens with panoramic views over the Old Town, hosts a free music festival showcasing the best of Ecuadorian and Latin American performers.
More than 175 musicians spanning all kinds of genres, from classical to rock, take to the various stages, while there are also theatrical events, workshops, food trucks and kids’ activities.
VAQ presents a wonderful way to experience the best of Ecuadorian culture while mingling with locals at one of their favourite celebrations of the year.
Festival of Lights
Inspired by the light festival in Lyon, France, Quito’s Festival de las Luces allows you to experience the Old Town as never before, its most iconic buildings illuminated by incredible projections.
Usually quiet after dark, the streets are filled with people far into the night, touring the city to catch a glimpse of the futuristic colours, patterns and animations mapped onto the walls with the help of cutting-edge technology, designed by local artists with a distinct vision of the country’s heritage.
Feria Internacional del Libro de Quito (Quito International Book Fair)
Discover books from around the world at this charming event, where dozens of countries have a stand in the Casa de la Cultura, promoting their best novels, historical, travel and reference books. This is also a brilliant opportunity to meet Ecuadorian authors and to learn about the national literary scene with discussions and panel events.
Fiestas de Quito
The city grinds to a festive halt for a week at the end of November, to celebrate Quito’s foundation, ending on December 6.
Parades, streets parties and concerts, as well as “Chiva” party buses ensure that no one gets an early night, with revellers dressed in wigs, masks and costumes. Some 300 cultural events will take place around the many neighbourhoods of Quito, including free mega concerts with international musicians (Sting has played here in the past).
You might witness a “minga”, a neighbourhood clear-up in which every member of a community comes together to dispose of the evidence of the previous night’s revelries.