Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to issue a resolution declaring Exposition Park as the ideal location for a museum planned by the legendary filmmaker George Lucas.

Acting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board made the case for building the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles County. “Exposition Park is the ideal site for the Lucas Museum, as it is already a destination hub in the County, with ample and consistent public transportation and convenient access to multiple freeways,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Its proximity to USC, along with dozens of elementary, middle and high schools, will help boost the learning experience for thousands of children each year, and provide an understanding of the science and technological skills needed for a career in the film, animation and design industries.”

“The Lucas Museum will bring thousands of jobs to the County, not only in the construction industry, but in the art, education, and hospitality industries as well,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added. “Businesses in the surrounding areas will demonstrate a marked growth, and green space is included in the proposed design as well.”

Faye Washington, representing both the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles and the newly created Promise Zone of South Central Los Angeles, said she hopes the museum will improve the community’s economic prospects. “It’s going to lower the unemployment rate – that 12 percent rate in South Central will go down.” LA Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gary Toebben, meanwhile, pledged the business community’s support for the project.

Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, plan to invest more than $1 billion for the construction, collection and endowment of the museum, so it will come at no cost to taxpayers. Designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, the project is expected to create more than 1,500 construction jobs and more than 350 permanent jobs.

“This museum is a $1.5 billion philanthropic gift,” said producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, cofounder and former CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “For Los Angeles to become its home would be a game changer – its impact on our culture, on our children, on tourism, on commerce would be incredible.” Natural History Museum president and director Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga added, “The Lucas Museum would take Exposition Park to a new level as a local and national destination.”

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson said Lucas has long been a passionate supporter of arts education for children. “I think this museum is an extension of that desire to communicate his love of art, his love of storytelling, to a much broader audience.” Meanwhile, California Science Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rudolph said a new museum by the creator of Star Wars would complement the permanent home of the space shuttle Endeavour.

The proposed museum would include paintings by Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Pierre-Auguste Renoir; as well as illustrations, comic art and photography by such artists as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth.

It would also provide an insider’s perspective on the cinematic creative process, featuring concept art, storyboards, set design, props, costume and fashion, animation and visual effects. There would be public lectures and classes for all ages, hands-on workshops, after-school programs and camps, and a wide variety of additional educational opportunities.