With the arrival of a bright blue lowrider and the applause of the crowd, “The Cheech” opened its doors in downtown Riverside.
After five years of planning and fundraising, the Chicano Art Museum of comedian and actor Cheech Marin welcomed its first guests on the morning of Saturday, June 18 with a street celebration to announce a venue expected to put the city on the national arts map.
At about 10 a.m., Marin, wearing an orange cap with the museum logo, got out of a 1962 Chevy Impala lowrider and opened the doors of the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture with Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson.
The opening day was sold out, but those who had tickets and others had much to say about the cultural importance of the museum.
“We have so many Hispanic communities in Riverside, and this will bring them together,” said Maria Batres of the Riverside Folk Ballet, whose company performed a blessing in front of the museum before Cheech entered.
Lock Dawson joined a group of museum staff who applauded the first visitors as they entered the museum of the city’s main main library.
They included JoAnn Jiménez, whose group was first in line.
“It’s amazing, where do I start?” he said, standing in front of a 26-foot-high lenticular that extends to the ceiling, the first work of art visitors see. The untitled work was written by the brothers Einar and Jamex de La Torre.
The museum called The Cheech was created as the home of Cheech Marin’s extensive Chicano art collection. He began building it in the 1980s after finding fame with Tommy Chong in the comedy duo. Cheech & Chong, followed by a film career. The center now houses about 550 paintings, photographs, sculptures and other works from Marin’s collection. Located next to the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, the new museum is expected to attract 100,000 visitors a year.
He described Chicano art as emerging from the protests of the 1960s and evolving over the decades to represent how real people live their lives. He called it a mixture of Mexican art, world art and pop culture.
Marin began to be known as an art connoisseur for the past 20 years when he began sending his collection to major museums such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The concept of a museum in Riverside began in 2017, when his collection was being exhibited at the Riverside Art Museum, and then-city manager John Russo and other civic leaders proposed the idea to Marin. After that, he started planning and raising funds.
“Someone asked me how I felt now at the end,” Riverside resident Ofelia Valdez-Yeager, community leader and president of the Reach for the Cheech campaign, said at a dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 16th. “She looks like she’s been pregnant for five years.”
The Cheech has teamed up as a $ 14.5 million public-private partnership with major donors such as Bank of America and Altura Credit Union, as well as a municipal grant of nearly $ 1 million a year to the Riverside Art Museum, which was hired to run it.
The Cheech is housed in the old Riverside Main Library, a 1964 building that retains its modern mid-century exterior but has been renovated inside.
Now, instead of an exit counter at the entrance, visitors see the giant lenticular of the la Torre brothers, which includes various themes of Chicano art. Images include an Aztec goddess, flowers native to California, a map of eastern Los Angeles, and the face of Cheech Marin himself.
The creators of The Cheech see it as a platform to spread the influence of Chicano art around the world.
“We hope that this building and this collection and this community participation will be a beacon for everyone else in the country to finally redefine inclusion,” Marin said at the ceremony. “Now it’s going to be shaped in a place where they can get to.”
Marin said he brought all his children to Riverside to see the museum.
“They are very amazed at this, as I am amazed at this: that an entire building is dedicated to the promotion of a part of culture that has been completely neglected for a long time but is now represented.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of anything I’ve done in my career or in my life.”
ABOUT THE CHEECH
What: Chicana Cheech Marín Art and Culture Center
Where: 3581 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside.
When: It opened on Saturday, June 18, and was sold out on the first day. Reservations are scheduled and must be made in advance on the museum’s website.
Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily. The museum will remain open until 8pm on selected Thursdays and will be closed on Tuesdays in August.
Admission: $ 15.95; $ 10.95 for those over 65 and 13 to 17; children under 12 and military personnel, free of charge.
Information: 951-684-7111 or https://riversideartmuseum.org/visit/the-cheech-marin-center-for-chicano-art-culture/
Riverside’s Cheech Marin museum opens to cheers, cultural celebration – Press Telegram Source link Riverside’s Cheech Marin museum opens to cheers, cultural celebration – Press Telegram