“My motto has always been that you can’t love or hate Chicano art unless you see it,” said Marin at the dedication of the museum in June. “And now people will have a place to always see it. This is such a happy and humbling moment for me.”
The center, affectionately known as The Cheech, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on-site or in advance at www.riversideartmuseum.org.
The Cheech is the result of a public-private partnership between the Riverside Art Museum, the City of Riverside, and Marin, who has spent the last 40 years collecting the work of notable Chicano artists like Carlos Almaraz, Margaret Garcia, Wayne Alaniz Healy, Judithe Hernández, Frank Romero, and Patssi Valdez.
During the dedication ceremony, Artistic Director of The Cheech, María Esther Fernández, said that one of the center’s goals is to deepen the visitors’ understanding of Chicana/o/x art through exciting and innovative exhibition and education programming.
Fernández said, “Visitors will make their own connections with the work and be able to better understand themselves, their community, and the world.” For Fernández, one of the most important aspects of The Cheech is that “it will be a dynamic space for intergenerational dialogue and exchange.”
One of the most striking features of the space is the visual connection between the galleries, which are centered around a permanent installation of a 26-foot-tall lenticular piece by brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre. The dynamic installation, which changes as the viewer moves from side to side, is designed to generate a central source of energy for The Cheech, encouraging visitors to explore the different galleries both above and below. Accessed by a restored mid-century stairway, the second-floor features exhibition art galleries, a multi-purpose space, a film screening room, staff offices, and an artist-in-residency studio/education center where visitors can witness the next generation of Chicano art as it emerges.
For Cheech, the center is a dream come true.
“We’ve put so much work into this center, and I can’t believe it’s finally here,” Marin said. “I’m so excited to share my passion with the rest of the world. There’s something in here for everyone.”