Actor, comedian, and renowned art collector Cheech Marin visited downtown Riverside Thursday, June 7 to share in an important update of the planned Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry of the Riverside Art Museum. Marin was on hand to thank Altura Credit Union for its $600,000 pledge that helped the museum meet a key fundraising deadline needed to move the project forward.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City, the Riverside Art Museum, and Cheech Marin stipulated that “The Cheech” project, a term coined by Marin himself, needed to raise at least $3 million by the end of May. With the contribution by Altura, a total of $3,131,547.91 was raised by the May 29 deadline, allowing the project to progress. The Cheech will be a permanent home for Marin’s more than 700 works of Chicano art, including paintings, sculptures, and photography, making up the most prominent collection of its kind in the U.S.
Marin and Altura CEO Jennifer Binkley were joined by Riverside Art Museum board chairwoman Lucile Arntzen, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, and Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), who notably also announced a pledge of $22,500 from the California Legislative Latino Caucus.
“I am so excited to see how Altura Credit Union is stepping up to help bring my collection and celebration of this art here to a permanent home in Riverside,” said Marin. “It is the support from both private and public donors that is making this vision come to life, and the truth is, this is only the beginning.”
During a press conference held in front of donors and supporters at the Altura downtown branch, the credit union presented a check representing its $600,000 donation. Other recent donations that helped meet the goal include a $500,000 pledge from the Wingate Foundation and a commitment from members of the Riverside Art Museum board of directors for $160,600.
“Making this pledge to The Cheech is another aspect of Altura Credit Union’s commitment to cultural enrichment through the arts,” said Altura CEO Jennifer Binkley. “This was an easy decision for us because we know The Cheech will be a place important to our local culture and will contribute so much to our community for many years to come.”
It was announced that later this summer, the City and Riverside Art Museum will be entering into a new MOU that will address the conversion of the library, a management agreement, and new fundraising goals.
“This is indeed a proud milestone for all of us who want to see Riverside continue as the ‘City of Arts and Innovation.’ Bringing The Cheech downtown also is a great way to honor our city’s rich Latino history,” said Mayor Bailey.
The Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry will be housed next door to the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa at a 61,420-square-foot facility, which was originally opened to the public as the Riverside Public Library in 1964. Organizers hope to open The Cheech to the public in 2020.
“On behalf of the Riverside Art Museum board of directors, I’d like to reiterate how proud we are to be working with Mr. Marin and the City of Riverside to bring this extraordinary collection here,” said chairwoman Arntzen.
Added Todd Wingate, trustee of the Wingate Foundation, “It is not often one has an opportunity to play a part in something that has the possibility to change a community for generations to come. It has been so inspiring to see so many embrace The Cheech with such passion and vigor.”
By Westbound Communications