The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art announced a key leadership change: Don Bacigalupi will step down as founding president and will serve as a “special advisor,” while board member John W. McCarter Jr. becomes interim president.
“Don was essential in helping to formalize our vision and in laying the important groundwork that has brought us to this point,” George Lucas said in a statement posted on the museum’s website. “We would not have been able to break ground in Los Angeles without him.”
McCarter is a board member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents, where from 2015 to 2018 he served as chairman. He’s also a former president of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.
Mellody Hobson, Ariel Investments president and Lucas Museum co-founder, called McCarter “invaluable as we continue our mission to create a truly one-of-a kind museum.”
The Lucas Museum broke ground in Exposition Park in March. The transformation of 11 acres of asphalt parking lots into a futuristic-looking museum and green space is “on track,” a museum representative said.
Construction on the $1-billion project has, until now, primarily focused on the underground parking. That part of the project is nearly completed, the museum said, and it’s in the early stages of construction on the Ma Yansong-designed building itself. An effort to “equitably distribute” contracts for pre-construction and construction among women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses “remains a priority,” the museum said. Construction is planned to be completed by 2021.
The museum will show Lucas’ personal collection of fine and popular art, which includes about 10,000 paintings and illustrations. Works by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth are joined by “Star Wars” ephemera such as the original Darth Vader mask. The collection also includes illustration, comic art, photography and movies — “art that tells a story,” Bacigalupi has said.
“Working alongside a visionary like George Lucas has been one of the highlights of my career,” Bacigalupi said in the statement. “I look forward to continuing to advise George and Mellody as they expand the museum’s world-class collection.”