South Los Angeles was chosen this week as the new home of filmmaker George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art, with the museum’s board of directors selecting Exposition Park over a competing bid from San Francisco.
“We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process,” according to a statement from the board. “Settling on a location proved to be an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities.” The museum will abut Vermont Avenue just west of the Coliseum.
Board members thanked officials from both cities, but added that the South Los Angeles Promise Zone in which Exposition park sits “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.
“The force is with Los Angeles,” said Councilman Curren Price whose ninth district includes Exposition Park. “To say the project is a game-changer for South Los Angeles is an understatement. The Lucas Museum will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, educational opportunities for families, college students, and educators, increased tourism and economic growth for South LA and the city as a whole.”
“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.”
The museum will house works by painters such as Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Pierre-Auguste Renior; illustrations, comic art and photography by artists such as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth; as well as storyboards, props and other items from popular films, all in an effort to create a “barrier-free museum” where “artificial divisions between ‘high’ art and ‘popular’ art are absent,” according to the museum’s website.
Lucas is best known for creating the “Star Wars” film franchise, producing the “Indiana Jones” franchise and founding Industrial Light & Magic, a visual effects company.
The filmmaker has connections to both Los Angeles and San Francisco. He has been a longtime resident of the Bay Area, where Industrial Light & Magic is located, and attended film school at USC, which is adjacent to Exposition Park.
In 2015, he donated $10 million to his alma mater.
The new museum will join a new soccer stadium, the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit at the California Science Center, and a new retail/residential center adjacent to USC as the latest additions to Exposition and Jefferson park areas.