‘Cheech’ is set to open in June, with hundreds of artworks

The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art is set to open in mid-June in downtown Riverside and will feature nearly 500 works of art, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and other creations, officials said Wednesday.

Work on the center has been underway since last year in the building that once housed the main library at Mission Inn Avenue and Orange Street. The library was moved a few blocks north, near the Fox Performing Arts Center, where it has been in operation since June 2021.

The “Cheech,” which was launched through a public-private partnership in 2017, is set to serve as a repository for Marin’s collection of more than 700 Chicano-related works, which the Riverside Art Museum will potentially curate and publish for national traveling exhibits.

The inauguration of the center is scheduled for June 18.

According to officials, a number of artist 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 depiction of a goddess of the Aztec land. The depiction includes low-rider cars and a background map of windmills and solar panels.

“When I saw the initial renders created by the brothers, I couldn’t wait to see the real thing, because I knew it would be way more than I expected, and it is,” said said Marin after visiting the site recently.

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 cultural stopover.

Councilman Jim Perry said last year he expected the center to be “an economic engine for Riverside”.

Officials estimate that up to 100,000 people will visit the site each year.

Marin, 75, shot to fame in the 1970s as one half of comedy duo Cheech & Chong. He has spent over 30 years amassing his creative treasure.

In addition to art exhibitions, other cultural celebrations are planned at the center.

James C. Tibbs