Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

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Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
Lucas Museum of Narrative Art rendering.jpg
An architectural rendering of the planned museum in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California.
Established 2014
Location Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°00′58″N 118°17′27″W / 34.016173°N 118.290775°W / 34.016173; -118.290775Coordinates: 34°00′58″N 118°17′27″W / 34.016173°N 118.290775°W / 34.016173; -118.290775
Type Art museum
Founder George Lucas
Director Don Bacigalupi
Judy Kim, Dep. Dir.
President Henry Bienen
Public transit access Expo/Vermont station

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is a museum in development by film creator and director George Lucas.[1] It will hold paintings, photography, illustration, cinematic art and digital art from Lucas's personal collection and a Star Wars exhibit. It will be located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California.[2]


The museum will house works by artists such as Howard Chandler Christy, N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, and Norman Rockwell.[3]


The first president of the museum is Don Bacigalupi, former president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Proposed San Francisco Presidio site

To be known as the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, it was originally planned for San Francisco, on Crissy Field. This version of the museum would have held Lucas's art collection, which is estimated to be worth approximately $1 billion.[4] After four years of negotiation with The Presidio Trust over the land in San Francisco, Lucas announced instead that Chicago would host the museum, due in part to interest from the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and the promise of land on the shore of Lake Michigan.[5][6][7] The museum would lease the land from the Chicago Park District for $1 a year.[8] Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti also made a bid to host the project, offering Lucas land in Exposition Park near the University of Southern California.[1] Youngstown Mayor John McNally has also proposed to Lucas to locate the museum in Youngstown, Ohio offering donated land in the city's downtown.[9][10]

Proposed Chicago site

Previous plan for the museum in Chicago

The proposed site on a parking lot near Soldier Field, Burnham Harbor and the Museum Campus was chosen by a Chicago city commission.[11] After the formal announcement of the museum's location on Chicago's lake shore and the later unveiling of its architecture, the project faced opposition again. In an editorial, the Chicago Tribune condemned the size of the structure, referring to it as "a monument to its patron rather than a modest addition to a democratic public space". The Chicago plan called for a museum building roughly four times the size of the one planned for San Francisco, though that size was later scaled back.[12][13] The Tribune also expressed worries about the cost of maintenance, to be absorbed by taxpayers, and the damage to the preservation of the lake front.

Friends of the Parks, a Chicago-area preservation organization, opposed the plan, citing a ban on development on the land set aside for Lucas. It filed a federal suit to block the development, arguing that granting the museum a 99-year lease "effectively surrenders control" of prime lakefront property to a museum that is "not for the benefit of the public" but would "promote private and/or commercial interests".[14] In March 2015, U.S. District Judge John Darrah ruled the land intended for the museum is held in public trust. Thus, the Illinois General Assembly is the only body with the power to allow construction to proceed, under certain limitations.[15] The state subsequently approved a law designed to enable such projects,[16] and the Chicago City Council approved zoning.[17] while the Chicago Park District approved a long-term lease and litigation on ensued.[18][19][20]

MAD architects, headed by Ma Yansong, was responsible for designing a building for the Chicago site, while VOA Associates was designated to oversee construction. Studio Gang Architects, already involved in the rehabilitation of Northerly Island, was selected to design the landscape.[21][22] The design was met with some criticism upon release. Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune called the structure "needlessly massive" and called for a "dose of restraint" to preserve the lakefront.[23] In Crain's Chicago Business, Greg Hinz derided it as "[yelling] and [carrying] on, in its own way defacing the city's lakefront as much as any teenager with a can of spray paint...".[24] Revised plans were released in September 2015, which scaled back on the size of the project but otherwise kept the basic design.[13]

Criticism also has been leveled against Friends of the Parks for its opposition.[25] In May 2016, Bill Kurtis wrote an op-ed in support of the Lucas Museum which appeared in the Chicago Tribune.[26]

On May 3, 2016, a statement released by Melody Hobson, wife of George Lucas, stated that the couple was seeking other cities to host the museum after a protracted confrontation with Friends of the Parks.[27] On June 24, 2016, Lucas announced that the museum would not be located in Chicago.[28][29]

Los Angeles site

In June 2016, museum officials announced that they were considering sites in Los Angeles and San Francisco.[30] George Lucas announced on January 10, 2017, the museum he wishes to construct will be built and located in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California, citing the proximity of University of Southern California, his alma mater, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Banc of California Stadium, other museums, and local schools in the South Los Angeles region.[31]

The museum that will be constructed was designed by Chinese architect Ma Yansong. The $1 billion project will have 300,000 square feet of floor space. It will be five levels, 115 ft. high and have a library, offices and two theaters. The museum is redeveloping the area surrounding the museum in Exposition park. Plans call for redesigning the landscape 11 acres of park space with museum terraces. [32]


Construction prep began in January 2018. Hathaway Dinwiddie is the construction agency.[33] [34] The site parking lots were cleared and excavation work on the underground parking has begun. Project completion is expected by early 2021. [35] The groundbreaking ceremony took place on March 14th, 2018, that was attended by the board, the Lucas' and city officials.[36]


  1. ^ a b Matthews, David (September 29, 2015). "Lucas Museum Called 'Huge Plus for City,' 'Upside-down Snow Cone' at Forum". DNA Info. Archived from the original on February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016. 
  2. ^ Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (2015). "Lucas Museum of Narrative Art". Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Walker, Alissa (26 June 2014). "17 Works of Art That Will Hang In George Lucas's New Museum". Gawker Media (Gizmodo). Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Bailey, Holly (June 14, 2013). "George Lucas pitches a San Francisco art museum". Yahoo! News. 
  5. ^ Harris, Melissa (April 10, 2014). "Chicago to Vie for George Lucas' Museum". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ Erdman, Shelby Lin (June 25, 2014). "Chicago Beats Out San Francisco for New George Lucas Museum", CNN. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  7. ^ Sneed, Michael (June 25, 2014). "Sneed Scoop: Chicago Lands George Lucas Museum". Chicago Sun-Time. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2016. 
  8. ^ Geiger, Kim (November 12, 2014). "Parks Group to Sue over Lakefront Site for Lucas Museum", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  9. ^ "Youngstown mayor invites George Lucas to build museum downtown". 20 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "City Officials Have Star (Wars) in Their Eyes". 
  11. ^ "George Lucas didn't choose this controversial museum site; we did". 
  12. ^ Editorial Board (7 November 2014). "Keep George Lucas' museum off Chicago's lakefront". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  13. ^ a b O'Connell, Patrick M. (10 September 2015). "Scaled-back Lucas museum plans may put lawsuit in jeopardy". 
  14. ^ "Rahm plan: Demolish McCormick Place East, put Lucas Museum there". 
  15. ^ Sisson, Patrick (March 13, 2015). "Will Judge's Ruling Send Lucas Museum to a Site Far, Far Away? - Museum Battles - Curbed Chicago". Curbed. Vox Media (Curbed). Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Lawmakers Approve Bill on Obama Library, Lucas Museum". NBC Chicago. 
  17. ^ Smith, Aaron (October 30, 2015). "'Star Wars' creator George Lucas wins approval for Chicago art museum". CNNMoney. 
  18. ^ Manson, Patricia (February 4, 2016). "Lucas Museum put on hold again". Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Retrieved February 6, 2016. 
  19. ^ "How public? Lucas case may hinge on interpretation of legal landmark". Chicago Tribune. November 9, 2015. 
  20. ^ O'Connell, Patrick M. (4 February 2016). "Judge deals setback to Lucas Museum, denies motion to dismiss lawsuit". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  21. ^ Neamt, Ioana (30 July 2014). "Studio Gang And MAD Architects To Design George Lucas' Museum Of Narrative Art". Commercial Property Executive. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. "Museum Design". Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  23. ^ Kamin, Blair (3 November 2014). "Lucas Museum design an architectural mountain on city's lakefront". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  24. ^ Hinz, Greg (3 November 2014). "Lucas Museum rolls out a design R2-D2 would pan". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  25. ^ Harris, Melissa (March 23, 2015). "In Lucas Museum fight, preservationists are protecting parking lots". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  26. ^ Chicago Tribune (11 May 2016). "Bill Kurtis op-ed: Lucas Museum would further Chicago's lakefront mission". 
  27. ^ "Lucas Museum's Chicago Plan Now Appears Dead". CBS Chicago. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  28. ^ O'Connell, Patrick M.; Ruthhart, Bill (June 24, 2016). "Lucas Museum Drops Plan to Build in Chicago", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  29. ^ Bentle, Kyle; Berlin, Jonathon; Brinson, Jemal R. (June 15, 2016; updated June 24, 2016). "The Saga of the Lucas Museum", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  30. ^ Ng, David (24 June 2016). "George Lucas abandons Chicago, will build new museum in California". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  31. ^ "Los Angeles will be home to George Lucas' $1-billion museum" – via LA Times. 
  32. ^
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  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^

External links

  • Official website
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