For a while, George Lucas, the mastermind behind “Star Wars,” has been keeping us guessing as to which city he would choose to build his $1 billion Museum of Narrative Art — would it be Los Angeles or San Francisco?
Well, finally, we now know the answer: L.A. is the winning city.
The museum will exhibit the filmmaker’s personal collection of fine and popular art, including collectible memorabilia related to his very popular science-fiction franchise. The museum will be housed in a futuristic-looking building to be built in L.A.’s Exposition Park. This design beat out a competing design for Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.
“It feels like this incredible gift has come home. I always thought Los Angeles was the natural place to spread the vision of George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, to make art and creativity accessible and inspirational to the next generation,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said of the filmmaker and his wife. “It’s a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city. It’s a banner day for L.A.”
The 72-year-old filmmaker himself will fund this project, which will amount to about $1 billion, including building costs, his art and an endowment of at least $400 million.
According to Mayor Garcetti, building the 275,000-square-foot museum will create tens of thousands of jobs in construction and more than a thousand permanent jobs once the museum is open.
The museum is also expected to attract more tourists to Los Angeles. “People will visit from around the world to see the original Darth Vader mask and Norman Rockwell paintings,” Garcetti said.
Other people both in the entertainment and arts worlds have shown their support to Lucas’ plan to erect a museum.
After learning about the news on Tuesday, DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said, “This is a real triumph for the city of L.A., and this will be a transformative opportunity for L.A. “First and foremost for our residents, who are going to have an outstanding cultural, iconic new force here — the force will be with us — and I think for tourism, and for the continued, extraordinary transformation of downtown Los Angeles, and for Exposition Park and the other museums it will be joining.”
Lucas’ art collection consists of about 10,000 paintings and illustrations including works by Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and R. Crumb, along with Hollywood memorabilia from films such as “Star Wars” and “The Ten Commandments.”