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George Lucas' Museum of Narrative Art gets L.A. City Council go-ahead

Arts Movies

George Lucas' Museum of Narrative Art gets L.A. City Council go-ahead

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday gave its unanimous approval to George Lucas' Museum of Narrative Art, which may break ground this year at Exposition Park. 

The "Star Wars" creator addressed the council before its 14-0 vote to OK an environmental impact report and other details. 

"For a very brief time I actually grew up here," said Lucas, who has a film degree from USC, which is just north of the park. "That's where I learned movies. That's where I learned my craft. Basically where I started my career was in school here."

Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, the business executive who is a driving force behind the project, had also considered building the museum in his hometown, San Francisco, or hers, Chicago. Finally it came down to the two California locations, with L.A. announced as the site in January. Ma Yansong of MAD Architects will design the museum, which is expected to open in 2021. 

The cost of the project, estimated at $1 billion, will be footed by the Lucas family. There also will be a $400-million Lucas endowment.

“It is the largest private gift in our city, in our state or in our nation's history,” said Councilman Curren D. Price Jr., whose district includes Exposition Park.

Per the Los Angeles Times' art critic Christopher Knight (who's not a fan of the idea), the museum will include illustrations for magazines, posters and children’s books by artists including Maxfield Parrish, Arthur Rackham, Beatrix Potter, Frank Adams and Norman Rockwell; a small group of paintings by Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Everett Shinn and others; and lots of movie set designs, costumes and storyboards. 

Lucas' personal collection of art and cinematic memorabilia is the foundation of the new museum's offerings, and yes, "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" will be represented.

"With unanimous support from our City Council, the Lucas Museum is officially coming home to L.A.!" Mayor Eric Garcetti said on social media Tuesday, posting a picture of himself with the council members, Hobson and Lucas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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