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‘The Cheech’ is halfway to its fundraising goal as deadline approaches

By in Press Enterprise on January 6, 2018

By Ryan Hagen

When the Riverside City Council voted last May to replace the downtown public library with the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry, the agreement came with a commitment to raise $3 million by Feb. 28, 2018.

Two months from that deadline, the fundraising effort is now about 60 percent of the way there. But — especially because the contract allows for a 90-day extension if all parties agree — hopes are high.

“We have all intentions of meeting that goal,” said Drew Oberjuerge, executive director of the Riverside Art Museum. “We really want people to know that we need support from everybody. Not just major donors but our community.”

The Riverside Art Museum, which would run the center and is not city-run, is the leader of the fundraising campaign.

As of Thursday, Jan. 4, the effort — dubbed “Reach for the Cheech” — had raised $1.8 million, Oberjuerge said. That includes $1 million in the state budget and $800,000 from private groups and individuals.

Excitement and fundraising picked up since December, said Ofelia Valdez-Yeager, chairwoman of the Reach for the Cheech campaign. That’s when the Riverside Latino Network, the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Spanish Town Heritage Foundation committed to contribute $250,000 between the three groups.

“Momentum is starting to roll,” Valdez-Yeager said. “Cheech will be making some appearances, and people are recognizing the center will represent not only the region but the state and nationally.”

Marin, a well-known comic actor, has what city officials believe is the world’s largest collection of Chicano art — more than 700 pieces. The center would house two permanent exhibitions of this art, as well as an art storage facility and space for temporary exhibitions, classes and lectures.

“It’s going to be a worldwide home for Chicano art, it’s a vibrant city landmark, it […]    

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