The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council

lucas art museum

The Force was with George Lucas as the Los Angeles City Council moved to clear the way for a $1.5 billion Museum of Narrative Art the Star Wars” creator plans to build down the road from his alma mater.

After hearing from Lucas himself, the council voted 14-0 to approve an environmental impact report and other requirements for the museum’s construction adjacent to the University of Southern California.

According to the museum’s official website, the $1.2-billion development, dedicated to the art of storytelling, will be built without taxpayer money. Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, are set to donate some of their 10,000-strong collection of paintings, illustrations and movie memorabilia.

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Set to open in 2021, the museum is scheduled to break ground next year. The approved site at Exposition Park, in southern Los Angeles, is close to the University of Southern California, where Lucas studied film.

“For a very brief time I actually grew up here,” said Lucas, who earned a degree in film from USC. “That’s where I learned movies. That’s where I learned my craft. Basically where I started my career was in school here.”

Lucas said his museum won’t just focus on movies, however, but on the entire history of narrative storytelling, from the days of cave painting to digital film.

“I realized that the whole concept of narrative art has been forgotten,” he told the council.

As well as works by the likes of Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the museum will exhibit storyboards, artwork and props from Hollywood movies, such as Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz . The collection includes items from the “Star Wars” franchise, including Darth Vader’s original mask and the first lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker.

The Lucas-Steven Spielberg Indiana Jones films also will be represented.

“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will add another world-class institution to our city’s cultural landscape, and bring a breathtaking architectural jewel to Exposition Park,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement.
“I am proud to have worked with George Lucas and Mellody Hobson to bring this incredible gift to Los Angeles — and I applaud the City Council for voting to approve a gem for South L.A. that will touch the lives of Angelenos and visitors for generations to come.”
“It is the largest private gift in our city, in our state or in our nation’s history,” said Councilman Curren D. Price Jr., whose district takes in the park.
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The project was first announced in 2014, though it has faced high-profile setbacks since. While Lucas had originally hoped to build the museum in Chicago, he eventually withdrew proposals citing “extensive delays” caused by lobbying group Friends of the Parks.
Hoping to preserve the lakeside site, the not-for-profit group had attempted to block the lakeside structure by filing a federal lawsuit in November 2014.
San Francisco was also touted as an alternative home for the museum. In addition to his Los Angeles designs, MAD’s Ma Yansong created proposals for a rival site on Treasure Island, an artificial island in San Fransisco Bay.
But in January, the museum’s board of directors announced that the Los Angeles bid had won — subject to the submission of further plans and an environmental impact report.

Click to learn more of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

 

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