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Cheech Marin’s Highly-Anticipated Chicano Art Museum Might Be Here This Fall

Update January 28, 2021

Cheech Marin has been an avid collector of Chicano art for years. The actor is now moving closer to donating that work to the Riverside Art Museum to create The Cheech Center.

The Cheech Marin Center of the Riverside Art Museum is so close to reality.

The Cheech Marin Center of the Riverside Art Museum has been years in the making. Marin has been collecting Chicano art for years and is excited to donate hundreds of pieces to give the community a chance to enjoy and celebrate the artists.

The Riverside City Council voted last week to renovate an old library to hold all of the treasured artworks. This week, the city council approved the management agreement and bid for the construction company. With that vote, the project can officially move ahead with construction to get the job done.

The Riverside Art Museum will be managing The Cheech Marin Center, which will cost $13 million. The museum secured $9.7 million of that from state grants.

It may surprise you to know that comedian and actor Cheech Marin is an avid collector of Chicano art.

Over the years, the 70-year-old has amassed a collection of over 700 paintings, sculptures, and more, all from Chicano artists. Now, Marin, with the help of the Riverside Art Museum, is set to create a space to exhibit his collection. As Marin told the Los Angeles Times, “It’ll be the one place worldwide that everybody can go to for all things Chicano art.”

The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry is moving into Riverside’s old public library building.


According to the Los Angeles Times, Marin said the 60,000-square-foot library would be the perfect place to display his collection, but that it would also “have an academic feature so Chicano art can be seen and can be studied.” The museum’s opening is still more than a year away, but in the meantime, Marin and the Riverside Art Museum will work out the details to bring it to life.

The museum was approved with a unanimous vote from Riverside’s city council.

Riverside resident Chani Beeman told the Riverside-Press Enterprise the museum is a welcome addition to their community: “This feels like something we can grab hold of and really be proud of.”

Marin was encouraged to pursue this project after a small exposition of his art drew a positive response.

In February, Marin donated a small portion of his collection to the Riverside Art Museum, for the “Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper From the Collection of Cheech Marin” exhibit. Marin’s small collection drew a record 1,476 attendees and increased the museum’s revenue threefold, the Los Angeles Times reported.

For the whole story, check out the article at the Los Angeles Times.

[Via] Los Angeles Times: Cheech Marin teams up with city of Riverside and Riverside Art Museum to develop Chicano art center

Read: You Might Know Him As One Half Of The Legendary Duo, Cheech & Chong, But You Probably Don’t Know How Much He Continues To Influence Pop Culture

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Cheech And Chong Might Be Over But Cheech Marin Is Saving Chicano Art With An Exciting Art Exhibit


Cheech And Chong Might Be Over But Cheech Marin Is Saving Chicano Art With An Exciting Art Exhibit

Cheech Marin is one of the most successful comedic voices to come out of the Mexican-American community in the United States. As part of the comedic duo Cheech & Chong, he has toured the nation offering acts full of caustic humor and political references that get our heads thinking and our hearts racing. He was born Richard Anthony Marin on July 13, 1946, in South Los Angeles. He has lived and worked in California his whole life and has appeared in such iconic films as Machete, and TV shows like the classic Nash BridgesHe has also done voice work in children’s classics such as The Lion King (where he voices one of the despicable hyena) and Pixar’s Cars trilogy. Culturally, Marin identifies as a Chicano, even though he does not speak Spanish. Guess where his nickname comes from? The story goes that when he came back from the hospital his uncle said that he looked like a chicharron (pork crackling), so the apodo of Cheech stuck.

But he is much more than an actor and comedian, and he has made a very important contribution to Chicano cultural life. Read on to find out more about it.

He is a famous actor, but his true love is not acting.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

Cheech has been collecting Chicano art for years, something that his fame and fortune has allowed him to do. It is believed that he possesses the largest individual collection of Chicano art in the world. 

He found his love for art at church, of all places.

Credit: TheCheechCenter / Instagram

Cheech told The Orange County Register that he first fell in love with art as a kid when at 11 he would stare at the ceiling at church. He said: “There were all these paintings there, guys in togas and some of them getting barbecued. What’s the deal? So art was very important to me and I learned as much as I could about it by going to the library to check out the art books.” Gracias a Dios! 

As a generous collector, guess what he decided to do.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

Yes, you guessed it, he decided to donate his entire collection to a museum. The lucky institution? The Riverside Art Museum ( in  3425 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, California. 

The new Chicano art center: simply The Cheech.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

The museum and Marin decided to call the new center simply The Cheech, which both speaks of the main benefactor’s generosity towards the arts and Mexican-American identity, and to an iconic symbol of Chicano culture. 

But of course, money is needed for this project.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

So Cheech and the museum relied on what Latino’s do best: community organizing. Through both online and offline fundraising he got the attention he needed and the rest, as they say, is history. 

It has taken him four decades to amass his great collection of Chicano art, after all.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

Cheech told the Las Vegas Sun on August 2018: “It’s more than I could ever ask for. I’ve been putting together this collection of Chicano art going on 40 years, and it’s been touring close to 30 years visiting various museums across the nation and Europe. It’s kind of a unique thing because it’s a private collection and museums don’t like to show those for a lot of reasons. It’s like, I have this collection because you don’t “. Talk about perseverance! If you truly love something, then nothing will be able to stop you! 

His motto: “Chicano art is American art.”

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

Cheech is a proud American, and he considers, and rightfully so, that Mexican-American communities have contributed immensely to the social and cultural fabric of the United States. He didn’t want his art collection to be just his, but everyones. He toured with the collection but not he found a permanent home for it. He told the Las Vegas Sun: “When you’re sifting through those materials, you come to the realization of what good does it do you? What am I going to do, stuff it under the bed? It’s for the people to see where previously they have not had that chance. It’s going to a special place that can expand the outreach of Chicano art and better include it the American canon. Chicano art is American art.” Preach, carnalito

His passion got young people interested in art that speaks to our cultural roots.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

The only way for culture to survive throughout the years is to be communicated to the next generations. During his fundraising efforts, Cheech found an echo in young adults. As reported by The Orange Country Register in December 2018, the group known as The Pick Group of Young Professionals organized the Pick 100 x 100 campaign, which urged 100 young professionals to give $100 each by October 2019 for a total of $10,000. The group’s president, Lauren Lee, said in a press release: “Imagine the difference we can make in our community by deciding to give back as young professionals to a community that has given so much to us.”

He got the State of California to donate $9.7 million for the museum.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

In June 2018, after Cheech had already raised $3 million dollars for the museum, the state government pitched in an extra $9.7, which came from the 2018-2019 budget signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Cheech told the Associated Press shortly after the government funds were made available: “I have dreamed for many years of finding a home for the hundreds of pieces of art that I have spent much of my life collecting, protecting and showing, when possible, at major museums around the world. The Riverside community has made this dream a reality.”

The museum will have over 700 paintings.

Credit: TheCheechCenter / Instagram

The depth and breadth of Cheech’s collection encompass both established and upcoming talent, as well as painters who are great but haven’t been able to break into the highly elitist art circles of Los Angeles. Among the paintings, drawings and sculptures are works by such artists as Gilbert (Magu) Lujan, Frank Romero, and Carlos Almaraz.

The Cheech Center will revitalize Riverside.

Credit: TheCheechCenter / Instagram

Besides being culturally important, the arts center will draw attention to Riverside. Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said in 2018: “But there is also a business side to the equation. A world-class art museum draws visitors to our city, potentially from all around the globe. These visitors book hotel rooms, pay bed tax, eat in our local restaurants and frequent our coffee shops and nightspots. The arts are one of the drivers that make Riverside a good place to do business”. Dinerito habla! 

By the way, Cheech Marin is also a marijuana advocate.

Credit: Cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

Yes, his other passion is pot: he is an active promoter of the legalization of marihuana, and of course is good friends with other pothead celebrities such as Snoop Dog! Un toquecito para Cheech! And yes, he has entered the legal pot growing business.

READ: 20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Actor And Comedian Cheech Marin

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You Might Know Him As One Half Of The Legendary Duo, Cheech & Chong, But You Probably Don’t Know How Much He Continues To Influence Pop Culture

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You Might Know Him As One Half Of The Legendary Duo, Cheech & Chong, But You Probably Don’t Know How Much He Continues To Influence Pop Culture

Comedy icon, Richard “Cheech” Marin is an accomplished comedian, musician, and writer. More than a triple threat, his 70-year-old prowess translates to both sides of the camera as an acclaimed actor and experienced director.

Cheech helped blaze the trail that gave an identity to a burgeoning counterculture as one half of the legendary duo, Cheech & Chong, and was influential in pioneering the film genre that we know today as “stoner” comedies.

In front of "Mejico Mejico" by Frank Romero

A post shared by Cheech Marin (@cheechmarinofficial) on

What began with music and standup, evolved into a two-man stage show that was formatted into standalone sketches.

Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie / Universal Pictures 

Their affection for surrealist satire set them apart from mainstream comedy as they honed their signature subversiveness by appealing equally to critical philistines and pot-smoking teenagers. They cultivated a loyal fanbase and exploded as pop culture mainstays.

Together, they released hugely successful comedy albums…

CheechAndChong / Funny or Die

Their self-titled debut “Cheech and Chong” featured a bit called, “Dave’s Not Here,” that would eventually become one of the most famous routines since Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First?” They followed it up with the quintessential classics like “Get Out Of My Room” and “Los Cochinos.”

And a series of films that has influenced “stoner” comedies ever since.

Up in Smoke / Paramount Pictures

Up In Smoke” stands out among the other Cheech & Chong classics because it defines the entire genre. However, “Nice Dreams” is my favorite. To me, it embodies everything about the duo’s absurdist wit and edgy approach. In no small part, that movie shaped my sense of humor during the formative years when I was a kid in a way that continues to inform my sensibilities as a writer.

But when they famously split up, Cheech went solo and thrived as an actor on TV.

Me and Don

A post shared by Cheech Marin (@cheechmarinofficial) on

@cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

The duo disbanded at the end of the ‘80s and then didn’t even talk to each other for years. During that time, Cheech’s individual career began to blossom. With memorable appearances in countless television shows since the early ‘90s, Cheech’s acting earned him a role in the police drama, “Nash Bridges,” co-starring Don Johnson.

And on the big screen, Cheech became a bonafide movie star.

Machete / 20th century fox

Cheech’s voiceover work has been showcased in colossal Disney hits like “The Lion King,” “Cars,” and “Oliver & Company” to name a few. But what demonstrates his range most is his performance in “Born in East L.A”  the ways he’s featured fellow Latino, Robert Rodriguez’s films like “Desperado,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Machete.”

Now, things have come full circle as a reunited Cheech & Chong continue to perform together.

Tonight in Freeport, TX

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CBS News reports that Cheech & Chong got the band back together in 2008. Cheech says, “We came to the conclusion we don’t have to love or hate each other…” But is the chemistry still there after two decades apart? Well, they are currently on tour, so go get some tickets and find out for yourself!

Most recently, Cheech wrote a memoir called, ‘Cheech Is Not My Real Name… But Don’t Call Me Chong!’

In the book, the comedy icon covers everything from his success with Cheech & Chong, to after the comedy duo split up, and what it was like achieving acclaim as a solo act. He opens up about his experience as the face of the recreational drug movement, and even reveals how he first met Tommy Chong while dodging the draft in Canada. Check it out at!

[H/T] CBS NEWS: “Cheech” Marin talks new book, reuniting with Chong

READ: This Article Would Be Better If It Were Written In Colombia Because I’m Funnier When I’m Drunk

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