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George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art has been given the go ahead

Los Angeles City Council have approved plans for George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson to build their new museum. The $1 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will break ground early next year and the plan is for it to open in 2021. The facility will be designed by the award-winning architect Ma Yansong of MAD Architects.

The couple will gift LA with their new project along with a $400 million endowment. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who joined them at the council meeting, said that the gift represented the largest single donation from one family to a city. He called the museum a “new jewel that will be at the center of the crown,” and said that it will bring 1,000 construction jobs and 350 positions when it opens.

At the council meeting, Lucas talked extensively about his vision for the museum, and of the importance of the visual arts, including filmmaking, in shaping history, perception and myth.

He told the council members that the showcase of popular art “appeals to people emotionally, but also tells you something about who you are.”

“The goal of the museum is to inspire people to think outside the box, to imagine whatever you want to imagine, to help build on the myths that help bind our city and our people together, and that is what I am hoping to do here,” said Lucas.

The museum will be adjacent to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Natural History Museum, and a museum of African-American history and art. The five-story museum will include 300,000 square feet of floor space, and include a cafe and restaurant, theaters, lecture halls, classrooms and exhibition space.

This is the first museum of its kind, with an unprecedented collection that features fine art and popular art from illustration to comics, an insider’s perspective on the cinematic creative process and the boundless potential of the digital medium. We are a museum unlike any other.

The Lucas Museum will be a barrier free museum where artificial divisions between “high” art and “popular” art are absent, allowing you to explore a wide array of compelling visual storytelling. Visitors who might be less inclined to visit a traditional fine art museum will be invited to engage with and relate to art forms they recognize and love.

The Lucas Museum will celebrate the power of visual storytelling in a setting focused on narrative painting, illustration, photography, film, animation and digital art. Narrative art is all about stories, and the moments in those stories captured by the artists.

Cinema is the most visible narrative art form of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Lucas Museum will present daily screenings of films ranging from legendary historic features to the latest and most innovative projects today. They will also present a lecture series featuring the most inventive and intriguing filmmakers of our time.

The Lucas Museum will provide multiple opportunities for hands-on engaging educational experiences for all ages and curriculum-based learning for students. You will be able to experiment in many artistic processes, from painting to pre-professional cinema techniques.

The Museum collection began with a large gift from the founder, and continues to grow strategically. Already included are:

  • Traditional paintings by Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as well as a broad range of original works in popular mediums such as illustration, children’s art, comic art and photography from many periods and cultures. Major holdings include a large number of works by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, and N.C. Wyeth
  • An in-depth exploration of all facets of cinematic art and its design processes, including original concept art, storyboards, set design, props, costume and fashion, animation and visual effects
  • Ground-breaking digital technologies and media used by artists in cinema and other art forms
  • An expansive art and cinematic research library (print and digital).

Among the items slated for the museum will be Luke Skywalker’s first light saber, Darth Vader’s helmet and items from the movies “Casablanca,” “The Ten Commandments” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

Thanks to Derek for sending the news my way.

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