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18 Jun 2013

George Lucas bids for US$300m San Francisco arts museum
BY Miguel de Sousa

George Lucas, the creator of cinematic movie greats such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones, is a step closer to opening a cultural arts museum in his hometown of San Francisco.

Lucas is one of three finalists vying to secure a site in the Presidio National Park, which was formerly a military base. In his submission to the Presidio Trust, Lucas says the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum will be a unique first-of-its-kind institution, designed to serve as the country's premier venue for understanding the connections and lineage of illustrative and visual art.

Plans for the museum were first revealed in March 2013

The museum, which may cost up to US$300m (£190m, €224m) to build, will be fully funded by Lucas who describes the facility as a 'gift to the city'. It will house his vast collection of visual art including illustration, children's illustration, comic art, cinematic art and design, digital art, digital animation and visual effects.

It will also host several exhibits and programmes as part of its outreach and educational focus. In addition to gallery learning opportunities, the museum will feature lively public programming in its 200-seat auditorium and classrooms.

According to the concept proposal document presented to the Trust, the design of the building will complement the nearby Palace of Fine Arts and will be similar in style to other structures in the Presidio.

The museum will be constructed of stone and succo walls with a glazed north facing façade to allow natural light into the public spaces and views of the bay, park and Golden Gate Bridge.

Currently the site contains the shell of a late 1960's commissary and warehouse building. The proposed museum will cover an area approximately equal to the commissary and call for at least five exhibition galleries ranging in size from 4,500sq ft (418sq m) to 8,500sq ft (789sq m).

Each gallery will be designed to accommodate multiple types of changing exhibits as well as the revolving permanent collection. The galleries will be connected with public spaces that will double as display, event or educational spaces.

Revenue from the operations of the museum, store, rental activities and restaurant will help support the operation of the museum, while charitable endowments established by Lucas will underwrite and support any and all additional funds needed to build, run and maintain the museum and its programmes.

Lucas has received endorsements for his museum from The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The J.Paul Getty Trust and The National Endowment for the Humanities.

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