Lead Story Local News West Edition

County urges filmmaker to locate museum in Exposition Park

LOS ANGELES — The county Board of Supervisors are urging filmmaker George Lucas to bring his planned Museum of Narrative Art to Exposition Park.

Lucas has proposed two possible sites for the museum: Exposition Park and Treasure Island in San Francisco.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the museum would bring 1,500 construction jobs and another 350 permanent jobs to Los Angeles.

“It’s a big deal,” Ridley-Thomas said, adding that the educational aspects of the museum would be “a huge benefit not only to the community of Exposition Park but to all children.”

Ridley-Thomas touted Expo Park’s convenience access and proximity to USC as selling points.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director Michael Govan, who has nearly doubled attendance at that museum with creative exhibits like Rain Room, made his pitch for the Southland.

“We are certainly the most diverse and the most creative place on earth and there’s a great power in this,” Govan said.

Lucas, best known for creating the “Star Wars” franchise and developing state-of-the-art special effects for a host of films, was born in Northern California and lives and works at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County.

However, Lucas went to film school at USC and founded Industrial Light & Magic in Van Nuys before moving it to San Rafael and then San Francisco.

Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC and ILM were since bought by The Walt Disney Company.

The proposed Southern California site is across the street from the Natural History Museum, which would “take Exposition Park to a new level as a local and national destination,” said Natural History Museum Director Lori Bettison-Varga, who said she looked forward to possible collaborations. “The Lucas Museum’s content — part movies, part art and part storytelling — would capitalize on three areas in which L.A. has special ownership.”

The Lucas Museum is described on its website as a “barrier free museum where artificial divisions between ‘high’ art and ‘popular’ art are absent.”

It intends to celebrate visual storytelling through painting, illustration, photography, film, animation and digital art. Programming will include workshops and after-school programs and camps.

The nonprofit museum, wherever it lands, is expected to be fully funded by the Lucas family.