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What's Cheech Doing With The $9.7 Million California Gave Him?

Cheech digs art
Cheech digs on some art at opening night of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, 9th Edition at Barkar Hangar on Jan. 25, 2018 in Santa Monica. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Art Los Angeles Contemporary)
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Cheech Marin will always be known for turning stoner comedy into (ahem) high art with tag team partner Tommy Chong, but Marin's spent the last 30 years collecting fine art. Now California's rewarding those efforts with $9.7 million for Cheech's Chicano art museum.

It's part of the new state budget signed Wednesday, with the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry set to open in Riverside two years from now. For those of you who want a head start on its nickname -- how it will be referred to alongside LACMA, the Getty, MOCA -- Marin is calling it "The Cheech."

You'll find around 700 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and more. (For a sneak peek, check out the tour KPCC took of his collection back in 2012.)

"I have dreamed for many years of finding a home for the hundreds of pieces of art that I have spent much of my life collecting, protecting and showing, when possible, at major museums around the world," Marin said.

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Cheech Marin, avid Chicano art collector, shows his support for Chicano art/his overly verbose superhero logo at the Getty Museum's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA opening celebration in Los Angeles late on Sept. 15, 2017. (Photo by Konrad Fiedler/AFP/Getty Images)

As the museum puts it on its website, the center will explore Chicano culture "from the barrio to the Bay, cholos to Cesar Chavez, pre-Columbian to modern murals."

"For too long, the story of Latinos and their contributions to the arts have been overlooked," Assemblymember Jose Medina, who helped secure the museum's funding, said. "The Cheech will help bring the real stories and rich history of the Latino community to all Californians."

It's replacing Riverside's main library -- sorry, books! -- but no need to fear, as the library will be moving to a new facility. So hey Riverside, you're getting even more cultural space.

That $9.7 million will be added to the $3.2 million raised so far by the Riverside Art Museum, which will be hosting the center. It's a serious step to make sure Marin's legacy doesn't go up in smoke.

Whoa, man. Cheech and Chong emerge from a prop bag of marijuana as they arrive for their roast at The Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace Nov. 21, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Check out Cheech in a series of ads he did for the recent Pacific Standard Time Latino art exhibit in L.A:

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