California may be getting a brick and mortar animation museum after a support group was able to secure $2.5 million in early financing from the state.
Here’s what we know about the museum so far:
- On Tuesday of this week, California state senator Anthony Portantino announced that he had applied and received approval to direct $2.5 million of California’s 2022-2023 state budget on development of a physical animation museum in the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena area.
- The initiative is headed by founder and chairman Eddie Newquist and a small advisory board including former Dreamworks Animation head Chris DeFaria, Frozen director Chris Buck, and former Disney executive and Iwerks Entertainment co-founder Stan Kinsey.
- Newquist told The Hollywood Reporter that the idea for the museum arose when he, Buck, DeFaria, and Portantino were all presenting at the same career day at a local high school several years ago. When California reported a budget surplus this year, Portantino knew the time was right and filed an official request for the state budget to include funding for the project.
- Early plans are to curate displays and exhibitions at a physical location, but also host a virtual component for interested visitors who can’t make it to the museum in person. The idea is to examine the history of animation while also providing an educational and inspirational experience to students who will move the medium forward in the future.
- This is not the first time that an animation studio for Southern California has been in the works. Most recently, ASIFA-Hollywood to open a small museum at its Burbank headquarters, but those plans were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. ASIFA has since given up the lease for that location.
- According to the THR report, ASIFA were surprised when the announcement of museum funding was made earlier this week, as the organization had not been contacted about being involved with the project. However, both ASIFA executive director Frank Gladstone and Newquist are open and looking forward to collaborating on future museum plans. Newquist also expressed a desire to work with studios, individuals, and organizations from across the animation industry.
- Of course, $2.5 million won’t go far towards building an actual brick and mortar museum in Southern California. The Academy Museum which opened last year had a price tag of $484 million while the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, scheduled to open next year, has been reported to cost around $1.5 billion. There is plenty of fundraising ahead for the group, but receiving backing from the local government is a great place to start.
Pictured above: “Futurama”