Sorry, Chicago, George Lucas' museum is headed to Los Angeles

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After initially flirting with Chicago and San Francisco as potential host cities, The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is officially headed to Los Angeles.

The announcement was made by the museum’s board of directors this week, and concludes a process that has been developing for more than two years now as the museum attempted to find a home in one of the aforementioned cities.

The decision to go with Los Angeles for the $1 billion museum — which will be funded entirely by Lucas himself — comes several years after the museum was reported to be headed to Chicago, only to encounter opposition from local land preservation group Friends of the Parks. The museum’s board then entertained plans for San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the City of Angels won out in the end.

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is expected to house everything from paintings and sequential art to movie and television memorabilia and props, with a focus on art that tells a story in one form or another. The museum’s official mission statement reads as follows:

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be a gathering place to experience narrative art and the evolution of moving images — from illustration to cinema to the digital mediums of the future. The museum’s seed collection — a gift from founder George Lucas — spans a century and a half and features the images and the mediums that have profoundly shaped our cultural heritage. The foundational collection will continue to grow and evolve as the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art acquires more works.

The announcement regarding the accepted development plan was accompanied by several conceptual images of the museum (looking appropriately futuristic) and a statement from the museum’s board of directors, which includes Lucas, his wife Mellody Hobson, and John Lasseter, the head of Pixar Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Animation Studios, among other notable leaders from the education, entertainment, and investment fields.

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Lucas’ plans to fund the creation of such a museum date back all the way back to the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by Walt Disney. After accepting the $4 billion that Disney paid for Lucasfilm and its properties, the legendary filmmaker promised to build a museum with a portion of the payout.

Early plans for the museum had it opening its doors to the public in 2018, but that schedule will likely be pushed back a year or more due to the time it took to find a home for what’s likely to be a very popular destination for cinema and sci-fi fans all over the world.

The official statement from the museum’s board of directors reads as follows:

After extensive due diligence and deliberation, the Board of Directors of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is pleased to announce plans to build the museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process. Settling on a location proved to be an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities.

The board wishes to extend a special thanks to Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for their tremendous efforts and engagement. While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship. Exposition Park is a magnet for the region and accessible from all parts of the city. As a museum uniquely focused on narrative art, we look forward to becoming part of a dynamic museum community, surrounded by more than 100 elementary and high schools, one of the country’s leading universities as well as three other world-class museums.

Now we turn our attention to finalizing the details and building what we believe will 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

More information about The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art can be found at the museum’s official website.

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