If first birthdays are a time to celebrate new beginnings, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture has plenty to toast. This weekend, a two-day extravaganza featuring live performances, multiple exhibitions, and a family-friendly outdoor festival honors the Center’s one-year anniversary with a selection of Chicano arts, crafts, and food.
Affectionately dubbed “The Cheech,” the Center opened in June 2022 as a public-private partnership between RAM, the City of Riverside, and comedian Cheech Marin, who numbers among the world’s foremost collectors of Chicano art. Intended to visually narrate Cheech’s 40-year journey as an art collector, the event’s main exhibition, Cheech Collects, features a revolving selection from the comedian’s personal collection, generously gifted to the Riverside Art Museum in southern California. Building on its inaugural edition, the latest iteration of Cheech Collects features vibrant works that reflect a wide range of Chicana/o/x experiences. Depicting physical neighborhoods, social gatherings, and critical events, the exhibition reveals a phenomenon that Marin refers to as “news from the front,” also this year’s theme.
Cheech Collects opens to the public Saturday, June 17, 2023, followed by an evening concert at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium. Featuring music from Grammy award-winning Chicanx rockers Quetzal and La Santa Cecilia, Music From Below offers stories and songs that span the complex history of US/Mexico relations along physical and imaginary borders. All proceeds benefit The Cheech.
Festivities continue the following day with Pura Pachanga, a free, family-friendly outdoor festival featuring Chicano art, crafts, music, and food. Artisan vendors include CJs Angels, a family of artists—Jose, Annette, and Theresa Armas—who create original fine and handcrafted art based on Mexican traditions. Man One and Pablo Damas are among the artists who will paint live outside The Cheech. Food vendors include Tacollynn, which specializes in tacos de canasta, also known as “basket tacos” or tacos sudados.
On view alongside Cheech Collects, two group exhibitions explore the complexity of Chicanx art and culture. Xican–a.o.x. Body examines influential works that foreground the Brown body as a site to expand traditional perceptions of Mexican, Mexican American, and Xicanx experiences. Origenes/Origins features the work of seven Chicana/o and Mexican American artists who leverage their personal histories as inspiration. Their work reflects the enduring cultures that shape the complex region of Southern California.
Music from Below: Quetzal together with La Santa Cecilia takes place Saturday, June 17, 2023, 7 – 10 pm in the Riverside Municipal Auditorium. Tickets are available here.
From Cheech Collects
From Xican–a.o.x. Body
All photos published with permission of the artist(s); featured photo: ‘Mina with Palms’ by Shizu Saldamando.
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