The fundraising goal for the proposed Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art in downtown Riverside is within reach, according to city officials, who announced a three-month extension of the pledge window on Wednesday.
"The progress that is being made on 'The Cheech' is further proof that downtown Riverside is the arts and entertainment center of inland Southern California," Mayor Rusty Bailey said. "Much gratitude is due to the Riverside Art Museum for spearheading the fundraising campaign so that this important project can proceed without burdening the Riverside taxpayer."
The Riverside City Council has set aside $100,000 for the project, which will likely run between $7 million and $10 million to complete, according to spokesman Phil Pitchford. He said other sources will cover the bulk of expenses.
To date, the state has promised $1 million, while the Riverside Latino Network, the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Spanish Town Heritage Foundation have together pledged $90,000 and have promised to raise another $250,000 in the next 90 days, according to Pitchford. The goal is to have $3 million on the table by the fundraising deadline for the project to go forward.
The deadline established last May under a memorandum of understanding between the city, the Riverside Art Museum and Marin was Feb. 26. However, all parties decided this week to postpone it to May 29, according to Pitchford.
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The Riverside Art Museum is the project leader and formed the Reach for the Cheech Capital Campaign Committee to generate interest. The committee website is here: www.thecheechcenter.org.
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"The art world is very excited about the evolution of 'The Cheech' and is following our progress closely,'' Marin said. "I look forward to continued progress in partnership with the Riverside Art Museum and the city to make this project a 'must-see.'"
The center would be located on the site of the existing Main Library at Mission Inn Avenue and Orange Street and serve as a long-term repository for Marin's collection of more than 700 Chicano-related works, which the Riverside Art Museum would curate and potentially release for traveling exhibitions nationwide.
The 71-year-old actor and comedian, who became famous in the 1970s as half of the Cheech & Chong comedy duo, has spent more than 30 years amassing the creative treasure.
The library is slated to be relocated to 3911 University Ave., near the Fox Performing Arts Center, where a bus station was once in operation.
The city council approved the $39.69 million library project last October. The 42,329-square-foot facility will boast an arcade-style configuration, featuring meeting and community rooms, archival space, a sound recording studio, online databases, a 3D printing area, a special collections inventory and hookups for all modern devices.