George Lucas Museum Gets Green Light

Designed by MAD Architects, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will feature an estimated 100,000 square feet of gallery space. The landmark will house a collection illustration, photography, film, animation and digital art.

Rendering of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
Rendering of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

In a unanimous vote on July 27, 2017, the 14-member Los Angeles City Council approved plans for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Founded by filmmaker George Lucas, the $1.5 billion cultural institution will feature 300,000 square feet of space in the Exposition Park neighborhood in South Los Angeles.

“People come to Los Angeles from all over the world to be inspired by art, and to see things they have only imagined become real through storytelling. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will add another world-class institution to our city’s cultural landscape, and bring a breathtaking architectural jewel to Exposition Park,” Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti said in a prepared statement.

Designed by Ma Yansong of Beijing-based MAD Architects, LMNA will feature an estimated 100,000 square feet of gallery space that will house a collection—consisting of narrative painting, illustration, photography, film, animation and digital art—seeded by Lucas’s private collection. The museum will also encompass a 4,200-square-foot library; a restaurant and café; cinematic theaters; a museum store; lecture halls and classrooms; and event space. The site will also feature roughly 11 acres of green space and parking to accommodate 2,200 vehicles.

Chicago, San Francisco’s Loss—LA’s Gain

Los Angeles wasn’t the first choice for the site of LMNA. San Francisco, Lucas’s hometown, had topped the list; sites in the Presidio and Treasure Island had been considered. Chicago, hometown of Lucas’s wife and LMNA board member Mellody Hobson, was to host the museum until discussions disintegrated over the planned location, a parking lot near Soldier Field. The board announced it had decided to build the museum in Los Angeles in January 2017. LMNA will be located near the University of Southern California, where Lucas attended film school.

“I wanted to put it in my hometown. They said no. Melody wanted to put it in her hometown. They said no. We were both basically heartbroken and then we said okay, let’s clear the board and find a place that really wants it. We found a place that really wants it,” Lucas said during the City Council meeting.

Lucas and the Lucas family are footing the bill for the development of LMNA and will fund the museum’s endowment as well.

Images courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art