Riverside Pledges $1 Million a Year to the Cheech

Rendering of Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture, Riverside

Cheech Marin's planned Center for Chicano Art and Culture ("the Cheech") passed a hurdle this week, with Riverside City Council agreeing to contribute approximately $1 million a year towards the Center's operating costs in its first decade. It's reported that the Cheech's budget will run $1.247 million, meaning that the city would be contributing 80 percent of operating costs. I'm not aware of any comparable examples of civic generosity towards a museum (much less one with a collector's name on it). L.A. County supplies approximately 20 percent of LACMA's budget. 

Riverside's agreement with the Cheech runs for 25 years, but the subsidy may be renegotiated after 10 years. 

The Cheech will be a branch of the Riverside Art Museum. Director Drew Oberjuerge said Marin has so far donated 11 "masterpieces." Close to 500 more artworks from Marin's collection are to be gifted before the Center opens. An additional 175 works will remain in Marin's ownership but will be made available for loans.

The Cheech website still talks of an opening "in 2021," but I wouldn't bet on that. Renovation of the site, the old Riverside Public Library (1964), has yet to begin.


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