Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) arts and artist’s organization founded in 2006 in North Philadelphia. It is a subsidiary corporation of Esperanza Inc. The mission of AMLA is to promote the development, dissemination and understanding of Latin America music and culture in the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Region with a strong emphasis on youth.
AMLA draws on the history and programming of Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos (Asociación also formerly known as AMLA). This agency was founded by 125 Latino musicians in 1982 to counter the misrepresentation of Latino culture and to advocate for better working conditions for Latino musicians in the community. Asociación formed the Latin School for the Performing Arts (LSPA) for the development of artists and musicians, provided presentations and festivals for the community and became known for its specialized “Roots of Puerto Rican Music” workshops. This local success earned the organization national recognition including the national “Growing Up Taller” award (1997) for providing top level programming to at-risk youth, as well as Latin Beat magazine’s Siempre Salsa Special Recognition Award (2005) for extraordinary work in the field of Latin music education.
In 2006, founder Jesse Bermudez reached out to the Reverend Luis Cortés Jr, President of Esperanza to forge a strategic partnership. This relationship resulted in the creation of a new organization that draws upon the history and services of the former—and so AMLA (Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos) was born in the Hunting Park neighborhood of Philadelphia.