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Cheech open to public next spring

The nation’s first Chicano art museum will open in Riverside on May 8, 2022.

Construction for the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, or Cheech, began in March, rehabilitating what was once the downtown Main Library into a modern museum with an estimated cost of $13.3 million. The Riverside Art Museum (RAM), the group taking the reins on the project, also announced María Esther Fernández was selected to serve as the inaugural Artistic Director of the Cheech.

Cheech Marin, Chicano art advocate whose collection inspired the founding of the Cheech, said Fernández brings a wealth of experience in Chicano art history to her high position.

“I look forward to supporting her in this integral leadership role as Artistic Director, which will shape our strategic curatorial and programmatic vision for years to come,” he said in a press release Tuesday.

Fernández said she looks forward to cultivating collaboration that develops an inclusive and complex understanding of Chicano culture. “I am honored to join the Riverside Art Museum staff who have worked tirelessly with the City of Riverside, the RAM board, and Cheech Marin to make this historic center a realization,” she said in the release.

RAM will host festivities leading up to the Cheech’s grand opening, including a fundraising gala presented by UNIDOS on May 6, 2022 at the Riverside Convention & Visitors Center.