It is not unknown that Latine talent in the art world was rarely portrayed and highlighted in the past. In fact, this might still be a reality we face today.
Latino comedian Cheech Marin is fulfilling his goal of elevating and demonstrating what Chicano art is made of. How is the actor doing this? Through The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, a center located in the city of Riverside, CA.
According to a report by NBC News, Marin has been an art enthusiast since he was 11 years old. His passion for the arts led the comedian to become a Chicano art collector, and his collection has been exhibited in over 50 museums around the United States.
Today, hundreds of pieces that belonged to the actor were gifted to The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture — known simply as The Cheech — and are displayed in the 61,420-square-foot center that showcases paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures like Frank Romero, Judithe Hernández, Patssi Valdez, among others.
“This is the most positive thing I’ve ever been involved in, in my whole career,” Marin told NBC News.
The Cheech has become a place of education on Chicano art since its doors opened during the summer. Part of the pieces found in the center, which is part of the Riverside Art Museum, exhibit representations of the lowrider culture, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and many other things characteristic of Chicanos.
Let’s remember that a Chicano is someone of Mexican descent living in the United States. A document by Generating Engagement and New Initiatives for All Latinos (GENIAL), “Chicano or Chicana is a chosen identity of some Mexican Americans in the United States. The term became widely used during the Chicano Movement in the 1960s by many Mexican Americans to express a political stance founded on pride in a shared cultural, ethnic, and community identity.”
Nonetheless, Marin mentioned that Chicano art is not politically heavy.