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By Anna P. Duff

Personal editor

06/22/2022 at 08:22

The exclusive first preview and official opening of the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture at the Riverside Art Museum. Located in the Inland Empire in the town of Riverside, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, nicknamed “The Cheech”, is a public-private partnership between the Riverside Art Museum, the town of Riverside and comedian Cheech Marin.

Cheech Marin, Honor’s LEAD XI Padrino, is one of the world’s foremost collectors and advocates of Chicano art. In the mid-1980s he began to develop what is today arguably the finest private collection of Chicano art.

The Cheech opened to the public on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Festivities leading up to the public opening included a fundraising gala the night before at the Riverside Convention & Visitors Center, with 5 years of planning and events social.

The entire site conveys the spirit of The Cheech, with outdoor spaces encouraging arts programming, impromptu performances, and experiences of all types, from lowriders to quinceañeras to outdoor sculpture. The semi-circular entrance steps draw the visitor into the building, and the open podium of the “entrance porch” features large-scale sculptures to be rotated according to new programming and exhibits. The building’s entrance hall is envisioned as a zócalo or open public plaza, a central gathering space that connects the four main galleries and provides amenities such as a gift shop and, eventually, a café.

One of the most striking features of the space is the visual connection with the upper galleries, highlighted by the installation of a new lenticular artwork commissioned by brothers Einar and Jamex De La Torre. The installation’s monumentality and dynamism generate a central source of energy for The Cheech, enticing visitors to explore the various galleries. Accessed by a restored mid-century staircase, the second floor features community exhibit and art galleries, a multi-purpose video space, staff offices and artist-in-residence studios where visitors can attend the emergence of the next generation of Chicano art.

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