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George Lucas Is Opening An Illustration, Comic and Animation Art Museum [UPDATED]

George Lucas’s next big project is thrilling: a museum dedicated to the popular arts such as illustration, comics, film design and animation. According to an interview with CBS, he initially plans to rotate his personal art collection which numbers thousands of pieces, and includes works by Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell.

Lucas hints that he’s looking to base the museum, the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, in San Francisco’s Presidio Park, which is not only where ILM is located, but also the site of Diane Disney Miller’s fantastic Walt Disney Family Museum. [UPDATE: Brew reader ‘Bell’ notes that Lucas has already confirmed he is eying the Presidio. Lucas submitted a concept proposal—he is one of sixteen contenders—for an empty site at the Presidio earlier this month. You can download the entire 30-page Lucas Cultural Arts Museum proposal in PDF form (4.2MB). Wonderful stuff.]

This is the part of Lucas’s interview that gets me really excited:

“This museum, if anything, is a dedication to cultural fantasy. How do you design enviornments? How do you design sets? How do you design characters? How do you design costumes? Part of the museum is designed to educate younger people into the idea of storytelling, into the idea of being able to paint your fantasies, which is what Star Wars was. Star Wars was there to inspire young people to imagine things, to imagine going anywhere in the universe and doing anything you want to do and using your imagination to entertain yourself.”

It appears that Lucas may finally be creating the high-profile popular art museum that America sorely lacks. Last night, I attended the opening of the Harvey Kurtzman retrospective at the Society of Illustrators—a must-see show by the way—and was shocked to realize that even an artist as vastly influential as Kurtzman has never been the subject of an exhibit at a major American art museum. Gilbert Seldes argued nearly 90 years ago in his book The Seven Lively Arts that comics and film are deserving of the same criticism and acknowledgement as more established arts, but museums have been abysmally slow in recognizing illustration, film production design and animation as legitimate art forms. Thankfully, we have George Lucas on our side now.

  • Bell

    It’s not really a ‘hint’ that he wants to base it at the Presido. He, along with others, has submitted the proposal to the Presido for the Former Commissary site at Crissy Field

    • AmidAmidi

      Thanks for that link! I didn’t know about the proposal. I said he hints at it because they’re walking around the Presidio, but the news segment doesn’t explicitly state that that’s where they want to build.

    • The public comment period for the site proposals is still open and they are taking comments through the website. All of the proposals and the comment option should be available through the link that Bell provides above. Personally, the Lucas proposal is the only one that will open the site to public use and give the public an educational facility that is capable of generating repeat business,

  • Outstanding!

  • I can see a lot of potential. It would have to have a theater for films, and one for mounting stage shows – set design, costume, etc., being important. Perhaps lectures by animators and animation historians…

  • the Gee

    I certainly hope it happens and they make it work.The more museums that showcase cartoon arts is for the better.

    Obviously, the Arts only going to benefit from people who can support it every way possible. Lucas is probably one of the best for the art described. Good for him. And, for everyone.

  • Matt Jones

    I really hope it happens. I’ve glimpsed a fraction of Lucas’ collection at the Ranch and at ILM-movie props, puppets etc. not to mention his legendary classic movie poster collection. This will help establish that part of the city as film and animation museum centre. It’ll certainly help bring foot traffic to the Walt Disney Family Museum-a world class museum that always seems sadly empty whenever I visit.

    • henry

      When you said Disney museum is empty, it reminds me to go there. I live less than 1/2 mile from the museum, yet I’ve forgotten all about it.

      BTW, did you visited the museum on weekends or weekdays?

  • James Madison

    This is really good news for the arts community and society.

  • I would sooooooooo check this out. This would be one of the coolest things to see.

  • Bert

    Lucas’s proposed illustration museum is the only project amid the several suggested to the powers that be in S.F. that will be fully and privately funded – Lucas has stated (in the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, March 7, 2013) that he planned to pay for everything involved. That alone should go a long way to put his proposal over the top.

  • Very cool! I Hope the museum is on the same level as the Disney museum in the same location. By the way, if you ever visit the Disney museum give yourself the whole day… or even a second! There is SO much to go through, we were there for at least 3-5 hours.

  • fskn

    Great news. But that video was painful to watch.
    The reporter tried to make connections with his ambition of creating that museum with GL himself and Star Wars. But the focus should be solely on the things that are going to be displayed there. The Rockwells, Parishes, Leyendeckers.