Hispanic Heritage Honored in Talk on New Chicano Art Museum (Page & Turnbull)

Reflecting the national focus on National Hispanic Heritage Month, architect Elisa Hernández Skaggs will speak on the design of the newly opened The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture in Riverside, Californiaf., known as The Cheech, which NPR called America’s “first major museum” for Chicano art.

The October 13th panel discussion, “The Cheech: Art, Community and Rehabilitation,” is cohosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Francisco and its Latinx in Architecture and Historic Resources committees. Elisa Hernández Skaggs, AIA, an associate principal with the architecture and preservation firm Page & Turnbull, joins colleagues Paulina Bouyer-Magaña of WHY and María Esther Fernández, artistic director of The Cheech, along with moderator Patricia Alarcón of the firm Ratcliff.


During the one-hour session, the panelists explore how the project team balanced the adaptive reuse and preservation of a local landmark to reimagine the building for its new identity as The Cheech. They will also highlight the community outreach that built public support for the project, promoted inclusivity, and ultimately reactivated the building as a new and vital cultural center. As well, attendees will have the opportunity to network before and after the session.
Led by Page & Turnbull, architect of record for the project, in collaboration with design architect, WHY, the design of The Cheech has created a significant new expansion of the Riverside Art Museum (RAM).  The public-private partnership brought together RAM, the City of Riverside, and the noted comedian Cheech Marin, who is also one of the world’s foremost collectors of Chicano art. Among the museum’s distinctive paintings, sculptures, photographs, and video art are works by artists Carlos Almaraz, Judithe Hernández, Gilbert “Magú” Luján, Frank Romero, Sandy Rodriguez and Patssi Valdez, and other celebrated Mexican-American artists.

With her colleagues and design team, Skaggs helped lead the new center’s transformation from a 1964 Modernist library into an inviting, 61,420-square-foot museum filled with galleries, gathering areas, and an artist-in-residency center on two floors. The museum’s zocalo, or large front plaza, and the expansive interior lobby provide visitors with welcoming, memorable places to meet and mingle.
Elisa Hernandez Skaggs

“The museum is a premier center for a world-class collection of Chicano art,” says Skaggs. “Our approach integrates the building’s original New Formalist style and character with new floor layouts and upgraded systems. It’s a welcoming, modern cultural venue where the community can see and appreciate an impressive range of exceptional art by Chicano artists.”