Now the city of Riverside is moving forward with plans to build a permanent, public home for his collection of more than 700 works of painting, sculpture and photography.
RELATED: Cheech Marin gives Vista LA a look at the extensive Chicano art collection in his home
The proposed Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry would potentially be located in the space now occupied by the city's main library, which is slated to be re-located in the next year or two.
An emotional Marin was grateful for the chance to bring Chicano art to mainstream culture. He sees the center as a global destination.
"This is one of the proudest days in my life," he said. "Thank you."
The building is not a done deal yet. The city plans a public hearing on May 16 to look at the goals in establishing the center.
Still, Marin already has a nickname picked out for the building. He asked everybody to call it "The Cheech."