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Cheech Marin Center For Chicano Art Receives $750,000 Grant From Bank Of America

Benjamin Purper

Bank of America announced today that it is donating $750,000 to the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry. 

At a press conference Tuesday, representatives from Bank of America announced the grant, which is the bank’s single largest award to an organization in the Inland Empire.

The Cheech Marin Center, nicknamed “The Cheech,” will house comedian and actor Cheech Marin’s collection of Chicano art, considered the largest private collection focused on Chicano art.

The center will be in downtown Riverside, next to the Mission Inn.

Al Arguello is the Bank of America market president for the Inland Empire.

Arguello: “At Bank of America we recognize that the arts matter, and the Cheech is able to bring world class art to the city of Riverside, which is going to have a tremendous impact from an economic standpoint, educational standpoint, a quality of life standpoint, it really - supporting the Hispanic segment that is so prevalent in the city of Riverside and of course the Inland Empire. So we think it's an important venue, that it's going to attract tourism from not only the United States but I think globally.”

And all that tourism will have a big economic impact, according to Paul Granillo, President and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

Granillo: “The Cheech coming to Riverside and the Inland Empire is of major importance to the economy, because when the arts are present, right, people come to celebrate the arts. So if you look at numbers from an economic impact study that we did, so when we talk about economic impact for the city of Riverside, when you're just looking at visitors, day visitors and maybe visitors who are going to spend the night, 24 million dollars a year for the city of Riverside. When you're looking at the indirect and direct cost and economic impact, 228 new jobs, 7.5 million in new payroll, 13.3 million value added economic activity, and 22 million dollars in sales. It's a big economic driver, and where the arts come together you start to see more artists come together, so we look at the Cheech as an anchor, right, additionally, to what's already here in the city of Riverside and the Inland Empire.”

Cheech Marin himself was at the event, and says the Bank of America grant is a big step forward in the project’s completion.

Marin: “It means it's an investment by corporate America in this project and they see the good it can do and the foundation that's been laid before it by everybody. So it's like, not winning but like getting an award for us right now. When I first came here, I said this could be the next big art town. Saw it right away, the foundation was set for it, we could see where we could build stuff on it right away, and we're doing it.”

The Cheech is expected to open in the fall of 2021.

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