As the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture debuts, its founder hopes to inspire a renaissance in a region of California lacking public arts funding.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — As a child, Cheech Marin loved collecting objects — baseball cards, stamps, marbles — and then organizing them obsessively.

“I had a mania for codifying them and putting them in some kind of collection or whole set,” said Marin, 75, who is best known as the mustachioed, Chicano half of the classic stoner-comedy duo, Cheech & Chong.

In the 1980s, buoyed by steady film and TV work, Marin’s natural inclination toward collecting found its fullest expression when he fell in love with the works of Los Angeles-based Chicano artists like John ValadezGeorge Yepes and Patssi Valdez.

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