The Riverside Art Museum (RAM) was announced as one of the recipients of the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, a prestigious recognition by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for its notable contributions to the local community. The award, which honors institutions making a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities, has been bestowed upon RAM to celebrate its 29-year commitment to excellence.
Director Crosby Kemper of IMLS expressed satisfaction in announcing the eight deserving recipients, including Riverside Art Museum, stating, "Riverside Art Museum integrates art into the lives of people in a way that engages, inspires, and builds community through thought-provoking exhibits and art classes that instill a lifelong love of the arts. The museum values art education as well as exhibitions and collections and aims to uplift untold stories."
Out of 30 finalists, the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners were selected for their exceptional programming and services that surpass expectations. These institutions demonstrate a commitment to community outreach, creating positive change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive.
Drew Oberjuerge, Executive Director of Riverside Art Museum, expressed gratitude for the recognition, stating, "This award is a tribute to how inspiring transformation can occur when a group of people come together with the goal to uplift and celebrate the human experience through art. Our trustees and staff have prioritized community voices and community collaboration, which resulted in the establishment of The Cheech and the ongoing innovation of our organization and programs."
Congressman Mark Takano, Representative for California's 39th Congressional District, nominated Riverside Art Museum for the esteemed award. He extended his congratulations, stating, "This well-deserved recognition is a testament to their work in establishing The Cheech, showcasing Chicano art and culture, bridging gaps in representation, and fostering inclusivity within our community. The Riverside Art Museum has set a new standard of excellence, and we celebrate their dedication to preserving and celebrating the vibrant heritage of the Inland Empire. This award is a proud moment for the 39th Congressional District and a testament to the transformative power of art."
Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson of Riverside expressed her appreciation for the museum's deep roots within the community, stating, "The Riverside Art Museum is a treasure that is rooted deeply in our community. As Riversiders who have a long love for RAM, we enthusiastically embrace The Cheech as the next great evolution in our cultural fabric."
Much of RAM's success is attributed to its unique public-private partnership with the City, with Cheech Marin playing a significant role. Marin acknowledged RAM's community work, educational mission, and support for Chicano art, stating, "Riverside Art Museum's decades-long work in the community, its educational mission, and the broad support of Chicano art within and beyond the Inland Empire is why I decided to gift my collection and work together with the museum to create a national center. This IMLS award is a wonderful acknowledgment to the RAM trustees, staff, and supporters, as well as the City of Riverside and the State of California."
The award will be presented in Washington, DC, later this summer.