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The long-awaited public space dedicated to actor and comedian Cheech Marin’s collection 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, houses nearly 500 works of art in a renovated building that was once a library.

The 61,420 square foot art center spans 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 house temporary exhibitions, an auditorium and administrative offices.

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

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

Einar and Jamex de la Torre, The good times, (2002). Courtesy of Einar and Jamex de la Torre and Koplin Del Rio Gallery.

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

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

The Cheech at the Riverside Art Museum opens June 12.

The Cheech at the Riverside Art Museum opens June 12.

The second exhibition, “Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective,” delves into the works of three decades by Einar and Jamex de la Torre, who use a range of materials inspired by their binational and bicultural backgrounds.

While the core of their practice is glassblowing, the brothers also use traditional crafts and found objects in their whimsical sculptures.

Under a memorandum of understanding approved in 2020, the town of Riverside will pay management fees for the museum expected to be $800,000 per year, plus $120,000 per year for utility costs, for the 25 next few years, the desert sun reports.

At the end of that term, the center is meant to be a stand-alone business which, according to local councilor Jim Perry, would become an “economic engine for Riverside”.

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