Center Dedicated to Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Collection Is Opening in Riverside, California

The space will house more than 500 works of art

Actor and art collector Cheech Marin at LACMA in Los Angeles Tuesday, June 10, 2008. Behind him is an oil on canvas, "Early Hawaiians", 1983, by Carlos Almarez. The museum displays some of Marin's private collection of Chicano art. After years of touring museums across the country, and breaking attendance records, Los Angelenos, featuring LA artists, opens this week at LACMA. (Photo by Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The long-awaited public space dedicated to the collection of actor and comedian Cheech Marin is set to open later this month in Riverside, California.

The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture, which will be part of the Riverside Art Museum, holds nearly 500 works of art in a renovated building that was formerly a library.

The 61,420-square-foot art center extends across two floors and houses works by artists including Carlos Almaraz, Margaret Garcia, Judithe Hernández, Gilbert “Magú” Luján, Frank Romero, and Patssi Valdez.

The upper floor will host temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, and administrative offices.

The opening of the center is the culmination of a long-held dream of Marin’s.

“My goal is to bring Chicano art to the forefront of the art world,” he said in 2012, when he was named the Arts Patron of the Year at the Art Hamptons fair.

The center, which will also be called the Cheech, opens officially on June 18 with two inaugural exhibitions.

The first, “Cheech Collects,” runs through June 18, 2023 and includes never-before-seen works from Marin’s collection. It is co-curated by the center’s artistic director, María Esther Fernández, and Riverside Art Museum director Todd Wingate.

The Cheech at the Riverside Art Museum is opening on June 12.

The Cheech at the Riverside Art Museum is opening on June 12.

The second show, “Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective,” delves into works from across three decades by Einar and Jamex de la Torre, who use a range of materials inspired by their bi-national and bi-cultural backgrounds.

While the crux of their practice is glass blowing, the brothers also employ traditional crafts and found objects into their whimsical sculptures.

According to a memorandum of understanding approved in 2020, the city of Riverside will pay management fees for the museum expected to amount to $800,000 annually, plus $120,000 annually for utility costs, for the next 25 years, the Desert Sun reports.

By the end of that term, the center is meant to be a self-sustaining enterprise that local councilman Jim Perry said would become an “economic driver for Riverside.”

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