‘The Cheech’ set to open in June, featuring hundreds of art pieces
The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art is on track to open in mid-June in downtown Riverside and will feature almost 500 works of art, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and other creations, officials said Wednesday.
Work on the center has been underway for the last year within the building that formerly housed the Main Library at Mission Inn Avenue and Orange Street. The library was relocated a few blocks to the north, near the Fox Performing Arts Center, where it has been in operation since June 2021.
The “Cheech,” which was initiated under a public-private partnership in 2017, is slated to serve as a repository for Marin’s collection of more than 700 Chicano-related works, which the Riverside Art Museum will curate and potentially release for traveling exhibitions nationwide.
The center’s grand opening is scheduled for June 18.
According to officials, a number of artists’ renderings will be on display for the center’s opening, including a 26-foot lenticular composition by Einar and Jamex de la Torre, which offers a large-scale representation of an Aztec earth goddess. The depiction includes low-rider cars and a background map of windmills and solar panels.
“When I saw the initial renderings created by the brothers, I couldn’t wait to see the real thing, as I knew it would be much more than I ever expected, and it is,” Marin said after visiting the site recently.
Under a memorandum of understanding approved in 2020, the city agreed to pay the Riverside Art Museum $800,000 annually in management fees and to cover all utility costs, estimated at $120,000 per year, for the center.
The agreement has a 25-year term, by the end of which the center is expected to be self-sustaining, officials said.
Although private entities have been involved in funding the development, the lion’s share of financial support has come from the state, which allocated $10.7 million for the cultural stopover.
City Councilman Jim Perry said last year that he anticipates the center will be “an economic driver for Riverside.”
Officials estimate up to 100,000 people will visit the location annually.
The 75-year-old Marin became famous in the 1970s as half of the Cheech & Chong comedy duo. He has spent more than 30 years amassing his creative treasure.
In addition to art exhibitions, other culturally oriented celebrations are planned at the center.