Cheech Marin’s Greatest Legacy Might Be His Art Collection

A museum housing his collection opened this month

Cheech Marin
Cheech Marin, comedian, actor, activist, on the red carpet at the Smithsonian Magazine's 2018 American Ingenuity Awards at the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, December 5, 2018.
Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When you think of Cheech Marin, countless highlights from his long career in film and television come to mind — including his work as one half of Cheech & Chong. He’s also done voice work for the Cars series, appeared in several of director Robert Rodriguez’s films and was a co-star in the long-running show Nash Bridges. And that’s not even getting into the fact that he did an impressive job with his appearances on Celebrity Jeopardy! over the years.

But acting isn’t Marin’s only passion. He’s also built up quite a name for himself as an art collector over the years — amassing what Melissa Hernandez, writing in the Los Angeles Times, described as “what many consider to be the largest private collection of Chicano art in the world.”

Earlier this month, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture opened in Riverside, California. As a New York Times article on the space noted, Marin has been collecting art for decades — and the new museum, affiliated with the Riverside Art Museum, provides a home for that collection. It’s a process that’s been in the works for several years — and includes work by a number of groundbreaking artists, such as Carlos Almarez.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Marin reflected on the experience of touring shows of selections from his collection. “It was not strictly mine. It was mine, but it wasn’t strictly mine anymore,” he told the Times. “It belonged to the people who were seeing it and whose story it was.”

And along the way, it’s made Riverside an art-world destination.

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