George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Los Angeles, the project’s directors have announced. The $1-billion Exposition Park museum will be funded by Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars.”
The filmmaker’s personal collection of fine and popular art, including ephemera related to his “Star Wars” franchise, will fill a futuristic new museum in L.A.’s Exposition Park, which beat out a competing plan on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The rivalry had pitted two cities in the competition not only for Lucas’ collection and the tourism it will bring, but also for the thousands of jobs that backers say it will create.
Lucas has said he will fund the project to the tune of about $1 billion, including building costs, his art and an endowment of at least $400 million.
Lucas, 72, has spent about 10 years trying to erect a museum for his art collection, which consists of about 10,000 paintings and illustrations including works by Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and R. Crumb, along with Hollywood memorabilia from films such as “Star Wars” and “The Ten Commandments.” In 2010, he set his sights on his home turf of San Francisco, but faced community opposition from San Francisco’s Presidio Trust about building in the historic park. Lucas then aimed for Chicago, Hobson’s hometown, but encountered resistance from Friends of the Parks about the downtown site along Lake Michigan.
The newest proposals, both featuring designs by Chinese architect Ma Yansong, were aesthetically similar but seemingly opposites in other respects. One was a remote, four-acre site on a breezy island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, beautiful but accessible only by bridge and ferry; the other was a seven-acre location in public transit-friendly, museum-heavy Exposition Park near Lucas’ alma matter, USC.
Lucas chose L.A. largely because Exposition Park positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling his goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship, the board announcement said.
The museum will be surrounded by more than 100 elementary and high schools, one of the country’s leading universities as well as three other world-class museums.