Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas thanked legendary filmmaker George Lucas for bringing his $1-billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to Exposition Park, where it is expected to create thousands of employment opportunities for people in South Los Angeles and beyond.
“It is a momentous day for the people of Los Angeles County as we celebrate the decision to build the Lucas Museum in Exposition Park,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “The Lucas Museum will bring thousands of jobs to the County, not only in the construction industry but in the art, education and hospitality industries as well.”
“Exposition Park is the ideal site for the Lucas Museum, as it is already a destination hub in the County, with ample and consistent public transportation and convenient access to multiple freeways,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added. “Its proximity to USC, along with dozens of elementary, middle and high schools, will help boost the learning experience of thousands of children each year, and provide an understanding of the science and technological skills needed for a career in the film, animation and design industries.”
In a statement, the Museum’s Board of Directors said they picked Exposition Park because “South Los Angeles’ Promise Zone 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.”
Acting on a motion by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in November to issue a resolution declaring Exposition Park as the ideal location for the Lucas Museum. They also heard testimony from several leading proponents of the arts and the entertainment industry.
DreamWorks Animation cofounder and former CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in November, “This museum is a $1.5-billion philanthropic gift. For Los Angeles to become its home would be a game changer – its impact on our culture, on our children, on tourism, on commerce would be incredible.” Natural History Museum president and director Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga added, “The Lucas Museum would take Exposition Park to a new level as a local and national destination.”
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson was also at the November hearing, and said Lucas has long been a passionate supporter of arts education for children. “I think this museum is an extension of that desire to communicate his love of art, his love of storytelling, to a much broader audience.” And California Science Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rudolph said a new museum by the creator of Star Wars would complement the permanent home of the space shuttle Endeavor.
Also during that November meeting, Faye Washington, representing both the YCWA of Greater Los Angeles and the Promise Zone of South Central Los Angeles, expresed hope that the museum would improve the community’s economic prospects. “It’s going to lower the unemployment rate – that 12 percent rate in South Central will go down,” she said. Meanwhile, LA Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gary Toebben pledged support from the business community.
The Lucas Museum will exhibit paintings by Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Pierre-Auguste Renoir; as well as illustrations, comic art and photography by such artists as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth.
It would also provide an insider’s perspective on the cinematic creative process, featuring concept art, storyboards, set design, props, costume and fashion, animation and visual effects. There would be public lectures and classes for all ages, hands-on workshops, after-school programs and camps, and a wide variety of additional educational opportunities.