The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture in downtown Riverside officially opens to the public on Saturday, which Marin described as a “happy and humbling” occasion, expressing his optimism about the more than 500 works he has. collected over four decades and provided for display will pique the interest of those who view them.
“My motto has always been that you can’t love or hate Chicano art unless you see it,” Marin said during a preview of the center on Thursday. “And now people will have a place to always see it.”
Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson presented Marin with a ceremonial key to the city and joined him in unveiling a commemorative plaque acknowledging the uniqueness of the paintings, drawings, sculptures and other creations he donated to the center, located on the site of the former Main Library, at Mission Inn Avenue and Orange Street.
The venue will open at 10 a.m. Saturday and tickets for day one tours are already sold out, according to the Riverside Art Museum.
“The Cheech,” which was launched through a public-private partnership in 2017, is intended to serve as a repository for Marin’s entire collection of Chicano-related works, which the museum will curate and publish for exhibitions. traveling all over the country.
Last week, the museum announced that it had partnered with the Smithsonian to present the exhibition “Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective,” by Einar and Jamex de la Torre. It has 70 works in mixed media, including blown glass sculptures and lenticulars with moving images.
One component is a 26-foot lenticular composition featuring a large-scale depiction of an Aztec earth goddess. The depiction includes low-rider cars and a background map of windmills and solar panels.
“The Cheech will not only give visitors another reason to visit Riverside, but will also serve as an epicenter to connect us to each other, celebrate our diversity and creativity, and provide a space for education and reflection,” said the mayor. “I encourage everyone to visit our historic downtown area and see for themselves the majesty of The Cheech.”
Works by various Latino artists will be on display, including renderings by Carlos Almaraz, Margaret Garcia, Wayne Alaniz Healy, Judithe Hernández, Frank Romero and Patssi Valdez.
Under a memorandum of understanding approved in 2020, the city agreed to pay the Riverside Art Museum $800,000 a year in management fees and cover all utility costs, estimated at $120,000 a year. , for the center.
The agreement has a term of 25 years, at the end of which the center should be autonomous, officials said.
Although private entities were involved in financing the development, the lion’s share of financial support came from the state, which allocated $10.7 million for the 61,420 square foot cultural stopover.
Before renovations began, the main library was moved a few blocks north near the Fox Performing Arts Center, where it has been in operation since June 2021.
Officials estimate that up to 100,000 people may visit The Cheech each year.
Marin, 75, shot to fame in the 1970s as one half of comedy duo Cheech & Chong. He spent about 40 years amassing his creative treasure.
“We’ve put so much work into this center, and I can’t believe it’s finally here. It’s such a happy and humbling moment for me,” Marin said. “I am so excited to share my passion with the rest of the world. There is something here for everyone.
In addition to art exhibitions, other cultural celebrations are planned at the center. Tickets are available for purchase and more information here.