Proposed Museum in Riverside Would House Cheech Marin's Chicano Art Collection

"I had not even dreamed of this dream," Cheech Marin said.

Cheech Marin's extensive Chicano art collection could soon find a home at a proposed museum in downtown Riverside.

The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry would house over 700 Chicano paintings, sculptures, photographs and other works of art that make up the comedian and actor's private collection. Marin would prefer that you simply call the museum "The Cheech."

"For all the Chicanos who have been toiling in the fields for, forever, this is a monumental day," Marin said at a press conference held to announce the proposal Tuesday morning. "We have a place that we can celebrate Chicano culture. Not only the past and the present, but especially the future of what this movement is going to be."

Marin wants the art to be displayed and studied in a location with "a large Spanish-speaking heritage community," Riverside city officials said in a statement. Under the proposal, he would work with the Riverside Art Museum to make the art center a reality.

"I had not even dreamed of this dream," Marin said, teary-eyed. 

The museum would be located in a building that currently serves as Riverside's main library, next to the historic Mission Inn.

Riverside City Council will vote on May 16 to determine whether to move forward with the museum, said Mike Gardner, City Council Representative for Ward 1.

An estimated $5 million will need to be raised to convert the library into a museum, said Phil Pitchford, a spokesman for the city of Riverside.

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