GO! The Chicano Collection produced by Cheech, Richard S. Duardo and Melissa Richardson Banks now on view at Plaza de la Raza

On Thursday, June 18 @ 7-9pm, join us for the opening of the exhibition The Chicano Collection/La Colección Chicana at Plaza de la Raza, a groundbreaking art project produced by entertainer and collector Cheech Marin, master printer and artist Richard S. Duardo of Modern Multiples, and Melissa Richardson Banks of CauseConnect. The exhibition will be on view in Plaza’s Boathouse Gallery free of charge now through Saturday, July 11, 2015 (Monday-Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-2pm, closed Sunday). Plaza is located at 3540 N. Mission Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90031; www.plazadelaraza.org; (323) 223-2475. Also, don’t miss Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection at the Vincent Price Art Museum on view now through Saturday, August 1.


11026283_10153414113989204_3963404474020847107_oTen years ago this month, Cheech, Richard and I premiered The Chicano Collection/La Colección Chicana at Plaza de la Raza. It was the culmination of our work together over two years to produce this ground-breaking art project. I first learned about the project after running into Richard at the former Vons in Lincoln Heights, and he introduced me to Cheech when he found out about my work. (Thanks to Richard, this led to my work today managing Cheech’s Chicano art collection.) I embraced their vision, shaped it into a project later funded by Bank of America and Farmers Insurance, helped market and manage it to fruition in 2005, and even expanded it to include a touring exhibition and a documentary to extend its life beyond what was originally planned. Richard first conceived of the project and presented it to Cheech after the opening of the blockbuster exhibition Chicano Visions in San Antonio, Texas. Their vision was to “embed Chicano art in its rightful place” by producing a limited-edition portfolio series of selected works from Cheech’s notable Chicano art collection to be donated to major museums and universities. After all, Chicano art is American art, so Chicano art should available at U.S. institutions for research and study.

The Chicano Collection project produced 115 archival fine art print sets — each containing 26 large-scale pigment prints of selected artworks in Cheech’s collection, 26 linocut portraits by Artemio Rodriguez of each featured artist, along with copies of the Chicano Visions art book and our The Chicano Collection documentary film (directed by Tamara Hernandez who also produced it with me and Heather Flores). Fifty of the 115 sets were donated to major museums and universities across the nation, including LACMA, San Francisco’s de Young Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. One set was given to each participating artist and project partners, plus sets were donated to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund for sale to benefit the nonprofit.

Featured artists in The Chicano Collection are Carlos Almaraz, Chaz Bojorquez, David Botello, Melesio Casas, Gaspar Enriquez, Margaret Garcia, Rupert Garcia, Carmen Lomas Garza, Raul M Guerrero, Roberto Gutiérrez, Wayne Healy, Adan Hernández, Ester Hernández, Leo Limon, Jose Lozano, Gilbert Magu Lujan, César Martínez, Frank Romero, Alex Rubio, Marta Sanchez, Eloy Torrez, Jesse Treviño, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Vincent Valdez, and George Yepes. View artist bios, view artwork images, and learn more by visiting www.TheChicanoCollection.net.

NOTE: Books on sale during The Chicano Collection opening at Plaza are actually for another exhibition, “Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection,” which is now on view at the Vincent Price Art Museum through Saturday, August 1, 2015. Copies of the book are $39.99 plus tax. If you cannot make the opening at Plaza, you can still buy books at Plaza’s La Tiendita store and the Vincent Price Art Museum (while supplies last) or online at www.downtownmuse.com/chicanitas.

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