The Force is with Los Angeles: construction has begun on the $1-billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, located at Exposition Park in Downtown LA. Designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, the 300,000 square-foot Lucas Museum is expected to be "one of the most imaginative and inclusive art museums in the world—a global destination that all Angelenos and Californians will be proud to call their own.”
The project will transform a series of asphalt parking lots into a museum surrounded by 11 acres of new parkland and gardens designed by Los Angeles-based landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA.
“The focus of the Museum is to open up people’s imaginations and inspire them to dream beyond what is considered possible.” - George Lucas
The official groundbreaking for the Lucas Museum took place on March 14, 2018. “The focus of the Museum is to open up people’s imaginations and inspire them to dream beyond what is considered possible,” said co-founder George Lucas. “Narrative art and storytelling stirs our emotions, shapes our aspirations as a society, and is the glue that binds us together around our common beliefs.”
“Our goal is to create the world’s most inclusive and accessible art museum—a place that brings together people from every walk of life,” said co-founder Mellody Hobson. “We are excited to call Exposition Park home, surrounded by more than 100 elementary and high schools, one of the country’s leading universities, as well as three other world-class museums.”
“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be an architectural wonder, a cultural treasure, and a center of storytelling and creativity at the heart of a reimagined Exposition Park,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I thank Mellody Hobson and George Lucas for their incredible generosity and vision, which will inspire countless Angelenos and visitors from around the world.”
Read on for seven things you didn't know about the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
1. It's Much More Than "Star Wars"
Of course, there will be a treasure trove of Star Wars memorabilia at the museum. But there's much more to the Lucas Museum than just one blockbuster film franchise. George Lucas' passion for collecting narrative art - art that tells a story through imagery - is the foundation for a collection that will grow for decades to come. Categorized by The History of Narrative Art, The Art of Cinema and Digital Art, the works on display will range from paintings by Degas, Renoir and Norman Rockwell to digital fine art, comic art and movie props like the iconic Millennium Falcon from Episode IV: A New Hope.
2. You Can Watch a Movie Every Day
Boasting state-of-the-art cinematic theaters, the Lucas Museum will host daily screenings, both individual movies and as part of film series. Student films will also be shown. To enhance the experience, the museum will host pre-screening speaker talks, film study workshops, and related lectures and panels.
Other museum amenities include a fine dining restaurant, a 4,200 square-foot drop-in library, event spaces, museum store, digital classrooms and lecture halls.
3. It's a Giant Classroom
Surrounded by more than 100 elementary and high schools, and located near Lucas' alma mater, USC, the Lucas Museum will make education a high priority. From museum visitors to students, teachers and aspiring artists, everyone is invited to learn how great stories are created and why they matter. The museum will feature public lectures and classes for all ages, hands-on workshops, after-school programs and camps, and a wide variety of additional educational opportunities.
4. You Can Go Metro to the Museum
The Lucas Museum will be built on the site of what is currently Lots 2 and 3 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The museum's location off Vermont Avenue, just south of Exposition Boulevard, is a short walk from the Expo/Vermont Station of the Metro Expo Line.
5. It's Located in the South LA Promise Zone
In June 2016, South Los Angeles was awarded Promise Zone designation, bringing greater access to federal grants and other resources. The South Los Angeles Promise Zone is home to nearly 200,000 people and includes the neighborhoods of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, and Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw. L.A. is the only city in the country with two Promise Zone designations within its boundaries.
6. The Museum is a Gift to LA
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is a gift to the City of Los Angeles from the Lucas family. The museum's construction, collection and endowment will be fully funded by George Lucas and his family.
7. It Will Have an Economic Impact
The museum is estimated to generate more than 1,500 construction jobs and will create over 350 permanent jobs when it opens.
For more info, visit the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art website.