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  • Writer's pictureJose Martinez

THE CHEECH: CHICANO ART HUB IN RIVERSIDE

Comedian Cheech Marin is a beloved Latino entertainer. As one half of the comedic duo Cheech & Chong, he is also a revered counterculture icon. The team is legendary for its groundbreaking weed-fueled humor. But Cheech is also an avid art collector and he is also the driving force of the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture—the first public space in the country dedicated to celebrating Chicano art.



A partnership between Riverside Art Museum (RAM) and the City of Riverside, The Cheech, as the Center of Chicano Art & Culture is better known as, is a space infused with sabor – flavor, vitality, and radical hospitality the powers that be explain.

 

“Together, we hope to bring every aspect of Chicano art to this region as well as the rest of the world,” Cheech Marin says. “We have something wonderful to give.”


 

Housed in a former two-story public library building, The Cheech is situated in Riverside’s downtown historic core next door to The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in the cultural hub of Inland Southern California.

 

The Cheech offers over 700 paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures by a wide range of artists. When The Cheech first opened in June of 2022, it featured a lowrider show in front of the museum, and there’s also ample outdoor space for performances to even quinceañeras.



When The Cheech opened, the NY Times called it a “game changer for Chicano arts.”

 

“Riverside has a real chance to emerge as one of the most important arts centers in the United States, and maybe even around the world,” Cheech said.



With Chicano art at its core, we’re not just talking about paintings, there’s also sculpture, photography, and video art on display. The Cheech explores Chicano culture from the barrio to the Bay, cholos to Cesar Chavez, pre-Columbian to modern murals.



Admission to The Cheech also includes entry to the Riverside Art Museum so make a day of it in Riverside and explore museums, walk along the promenade and see the life-size sculptures of icons such as Cesar Chavez and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And walk through the famed Mission Inn and check out its Presidential Lounge and enjoy a cocktail or two.

 

Honestly, I had only ever driven through Riverside and never spent time there. I went on a Sunday with Dad and had the best time. We strolled through the Cheech and RAM and took in the art then walked through the town, looked into shops and galleries and made our way to The Mission Inn. We thought about eating at a local taqueria but opted for lunch at the comfy and cozy Presidential Lounge. It really was just the perfect day.

 

Click here for current exhibitions at The Cheech and RAM.

 

 

The Cheech is located at 3581 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from noon to 5pm. Call (951) 684-7111.

 

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