Actor and comedian Cheech Marin, who for decades has been a noted collector of Chicano art, is teaming up with the city of Riverside and the Riverside Art Museum to create a Chicano art center.
The proposed museum, tentatively titled the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry, would be housed in a roughly 60,000-square-foot building now occupied by the main branch of the Riverside Public Library, which will be moving to a new structure a few blocks away.
The goal of Marin’s center — still in the earliest planning stages — would be to provide a permanent home for more than 700 works from his collection, which includes painting, sculpture and photography by Chicano artists from throughout the United States.
“It’ll be the one place worldwide that everybody can go to for all things Chicano art,” says Marin. “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 museum would be a partnership between Marin (who would supply his art), the city of Riverside (which owns the building) and the art museum (which would manage the new center). The proposal is scheduled to be announced at a news conference on Tuesday morning at the Riverside Public Library. On May 16, the three parties will then present a memorandum of understanding to the Riverside City Council, which has to approve any formal negotiations for the use of the building.
Following approval of the memorandum, is approved, Marin, the Riverside Art Museum and the city would have from nine months to a year to work out the particulars: finalizing cost estimates for the renovation of the library building, determining the operating expenses and structure of the new institution and arranging an agreement with Marin for how his collection will be presented. That agreement could include the eventual donation of works.
Once the agreements are ironed out, the City Council will vote again to finalize the deal.
“It’s a great re-use for the building in the middle of a cultural center,” says John Russo, city manager, who notes that the Chicano art center would bolster the city’s downtown cultural district, which includes the RAM, the California Museum of Photography (operated by UC Riverside) and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, which organizes historic and anthropological exhibitions.
“It will be a positive thing for the restaurants and hotels in the area,” he adds. “And it will be very positive for the educational institutions as well. We have a burgeoning art community and this is really going to solidify and bring attention to that art community.”
Read the complete article on the Los Angeles Times.