LOS ANGELES (CN) – After several years of back and forth between multiple cities vying to host the George Lucas museum, Los Angeles leaders and the creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones broke ground in south Los Angeles on a proposed campus that will showcase pop art and narrative storytelling.
Los Angeles beat the cities of San Francisco and Chicago to host the $1.5 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson at one point started construction on the museum near Chicago’s Soldier Field, but a 2016 federal lawsuit from open-space advocates halted the project. The lawsuit said the project violated laws that restricted development along Lake Michigan.
Chicago’s loss was Los Angeles’ gain. The museum is considered a donation to Los Angeles and will host educational programs and a reference library for educators.
In previous interviews, Lucas said he had been working for at least a decade to find a suitable home for the museum and planned to spend $1 billion to fund the project.
On Wednesday, Hobson said during that time Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti would continue to ask about the project.
“We were in Chicago working on building a museum there,” Hobson said. “And (Garcetti) was like if it doesn’t work out let me know. We’re here. We’ll make it easy. We really want you.”
The Narrative Museum will also showcase props and art from Lucas’ film career, along with his personal art collection, including illustrations by Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell. Pop art plays an important role in telling the story of society and people, said Lucas.
“Especially in the 20th century, there was a whole branch of narrative art that got left behind,” Lucas said. “It’s the one that shows us what we believe in and what we want to be.”
The 300,000 square-foot museum is designed by architect Ma Yansong and expected to open in 2021 at Exposition Park, located in south Los Angeles between the University of Southern California, where Lucas is an alumnus, and the LA Memorial Coliseum, built for the 1984 Olympics and which will likely play a role in 2028 when Los Angeles hosts the Olympics again.
Garcetti said the Lucas Museum will celebrate diversity and inclusion. He asked the audience to picture a tourist walking around the museum, surrounded by plenty of activity and locals enjoying the many other museums in the area.
Garcetti summarized that experience as, “I am here. We create and I belong,” likely a slogan that celebrates the city’s diversity. He went on to say the museum will be a cultural treasure and architectural wonder. Approximately a thousand jobs will be created directly and indirectly from the museum, according to organizers.