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Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Museum Set to Open Fall 2021

Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Museum Set to Open Fall 2021


Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Museum Set to Open Fall 2021

The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture is to open this fall in Riverside, California, having secured $1 million in annual funding from the city for 25 years. Intended as the first museum devoted to Mexican-American art, the institution will occupy the former Riverside Public Library and will be home to some 700 works belonging to Marin, who is widely known in the sometimes overlapping spheres of marijuana and comedy, and whose collection of Chicano art is said to be the largest in the world.Marin began advocating for the museum in 2017. Nicknamed “the Cheech,” the institution will be managed by the Riverside Art Museum, which is funding the $13.3 million renovation costs of the 1964 library building via a $9.7 million state grant combined with private donations. The Cheech is expected provide the city with $3 million in admissions revenue over the first decade of operation, based on an expected annual attendance of 100,000, projected to be double that of the Riverside Art Museum’s visitor numbers, owing to Marin’s celebrity.A third-generation Mexican-American, Marin has been collecting Chicano art since the 1980s, following his rise to fame with partner Tommy Chong, with whom he created a canonical body of cannabis comedy. Originally drawn to work of the Dutch Baroque period, he found himself fascinated by the blend of American and Mexican sensibilities in Chicano art, and over the ensuing decades established his vast collection. “I appreciated the art, I learned about it, but I never saw a painting that looked like me or anybody I knew in my neighborhood,” Marin has said. “People hear ‘Chicano art’ and think it’s a guy sleeping under a cactus or something,” he told the New York Times. “For too long, the story of Latinos and their contributions to the arts have been overlooked,” said Riverside Assembly member Jose Medina, a supporter of the project. “The Cheech will help bring the real stories and rich history of the Latino community to all Californians.” Marin’s holdings range from pre-Colombian works to lenticular art of recent decades, and includes work by street artist Carlos Almaraz, muralist and sculptor Gilbert “Magú” Lujan, and muralist Frank Romero, among others.


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