Art museums across the United States may not have always seen the value in Chicano art, but Cheech Marin has. The actor, comedian, and famous stoner has amassed a collection of 700 works in his lifetime. These pieces has traveled the country and they may have found a permanent home at the Riverside Art Museum. This week, Marin discussed the plans to create a Chicano art center – currently called the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry – to house the Chicano photography, sculptures, and paintings that he’s collected in the last few decades, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“It’ll be the one place worldwide that everybody can go to for all things Chicano art,” he said. “And it will not just be display, but it will have an academic feature so Chicano art can be seen and can be studied. There are five universities in the area.”
The Cheech – as Marin jokingly calls it – is still in the early stages. It’s a partnership between the city of Riverside, the museum, and Marin. The collection will eventually live at a 60,000-square-foot building that the Riverside Public Library currently occupies. The Riverside City Council still has to approve a plan for the use of the building, which then gives the city up to a year to work out final details, such as the cost of renovations. Completing this project means that the large Latino community who lives in Riverside and surrounding areas will have a museum that reflects who they are.
“It was this idea that the museums and the cultural institutions hadn’t been effectively serving a vast majority of our community,” said Riverside Art Museum Executive Director Drew Oberjuerge. “Like most museums, our board and our staff don’t reflect the diversity of the region. This was a realistic look at [our] own sustainability.”
When the museum debuted the Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper From the Collection of Cheech Marin earlier this year, it drew 1,476 attendees the first night.