George Lucas museum to open in Exposition Park

USC alumnus George Lucas announced on Tuesday his plan to build the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park. Lucas and his wife, businesswoman Mellody Hobson, chose Los Angeles over Treasure Island in San Francisco as the location for the museum, which will feature pieces from Lucas’ personal collection.

“L.A. is gaining a new jewel with the breathtaking Lucas Museum of Narrative Art,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Its presence here means that a day at Exposition Park will soon bring unrivaled opportunities to be immersed in stories told on canvas and celluloid, be moved by the richness of African-American history and expression, be awed by the wonders of science and the natural world, take a journey to the world of space exploration and sit in the stands for a world-class sporting event.”

Lucas explained that his motivation to build and fund a museum stems from his passion for narrative.

“Narrative is one of the oldest and most important impulses in art. It is also the most popular form of art,” Lucas said. “Tracing the arc of narrative art reveals how culture is created, reinforced and then compelled to evolve.”

For months, Lucas, along with Hobson, were deciding between rival cities Los Angeles and San Francisco; however, the board ultimately chose Los Angeles.

“I believed in the vision for the Lucas Museum, and we went after it with everything we have,” Garcetti said. “I know that L.A. is the ideal place for making sure that it touches the widest possible audience. Now it’s time to build the vision.”

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Exposition Park, neighboring multiple landmarks, including the Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Additionally, the museum will be across the street from USC, Lucas’ alma mater, where he donated approximately $175 million in 2006 to foster the film program and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The $1 billion, nonprofit museum will feature Star Wars and Hollywood memorabilia, paintings, vintage photographs and films from Lucas’ personal collection. The building will be designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects.

According to a statement released by the Lucas Museum, the museum will also include amenities such as a fine dining restaurant, a casual cafe, state-of-the-art cinematic theaters, lecture halls, digital classrooms, video conferencing, a 4,200-square-foot library, production quality editing classrooms, event rental spaces and a museum store.

“Art exists to inspire, to move, to educate and to excite,” Garcetti said. “I am deeply grateful to Mellody and George, and to our educational, governmental and cultural leaders for their extraordinary support in helping us bring the museum home. Millions of Angelenos and visitors will enjoy an extraordinary collection anchored in storytelling — an art that carries so much meaning in the history and legacy of Los Angeles. This is a collection of narrative art in a city that has the best storytellers and storymakers in the world.”