LA City Council Approves Plan For Lucas Museum In Exposition Park

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a plan for the highly-anticipated Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to be built in Exposition Park.

The plan calls for a five-story building with 300,000 square feet of space for a cafe and restaurant, theaters, office space, lecture halls, a library, classrooms, exhibition space and landscaped open space.

George Lucas – creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and founder of visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic – picked Los Angeles as the home of his $1 billion museum in January.

“The popular arts, the popular narrative arts which tell the story of society, have kind of been dismissed, so that’s one of the things that spurred me on to say this kind of art is very important, and it is especially important to adolescents,” Lucas said. “The goal of the museum is to think outside the box.”

The museum will house works by painters such as Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, illustrations, comic art and photography by artists such as Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth, along with storyboards, props and other items from popular films.

The filmmaker and his wife, Mellody Hobson, will donate all of the art and pay for the museum’s construction in what has been touted as the largest philanthropic gift to an American city in the 21st century.

After Lucas ran into opposition in Chicago, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti reached out and tried to woo him to Los Angeles.

“A long time ago in a city not so far away, two people had a dream for a museum, and we said from the beginning that the force was very strong here in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said at a news conference with Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, after the vote. “We said we were a place that would get the job done and would open up our hearts and our minds.”

Lucas considered both the L.A. proposal, which in Exposition Park will be near his alma matter of USC, and San Francisco, where he has strong connections after growing up in Modesto and living in the Bay Area for decades.

He also ran into opposition in San Francisco in 2014 with a plan to build the museum at the Presidio before the 2016 San Francisco plan proposed Treasure Island.

“As they say, three is a charm. This has been a very long and hard journey. My joke is – who knew it would be so hard to give away a museum,” Hobson joked. “But it really has been something that has challenged us, and it’s a bit emotional for us to be standing here and seeing this dream become a reality.

Touted as a “barrier-free museum”, the museum is expected to avoid “artificial divisions between `high’ art and `popular’ art” according to the official website.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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