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Even if it's ‘not the art you're looking for,’ the Lucas Museum aims to please




The model of the Lucas Museum
The model of the Lucas Museum
Sean Twomey/ Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Los Angeles' Exposition Park is feeling the Force, as the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art broke ground.

The museum is spearheaded by Star Wars creator, George Lucas, so yes there will be something for the aspiring Jedi, but there will also be art from Norman Rockwell, Degas, and others. In addition to the galleries, the museum will host events like workshops and film screenings.

To hear more about what visitors can expect once the museum is finished, Take Two talked to Don Bacigalupi, founding president of the Lucas Museum. Bacigalupi said the museum hopes to please all visitors, both the Star Wars fans and other art lovers.

"I think of it this way: I think my 12-year-old son will come into this museum expecting and demanding to see Star Wars stories. He'll want to see graphic novels and comic books. My grandmother will come in, and she'll want to see all those Norman Rockwell paintings, so I think there'll be something for everyone," Bacigalupi said.

Even if certain pieces are 'not the art you're looking for', Bacigalupi hopes those who visit the museum will be inspired by new discoveries in the collections. 

A rendering of the street view of the Lucas Museum
A rendering of the street view of the Lucas Museum
MAD Architects

Walking into the museum, visitors will enter a plaza space, they'll be shaded by the museum building, but if they look up, they'll see a large skylight, or technically an oculus, Bacigalupi said. 

"It lets in daylight, it lets rain come through, it'll be kind of an amazing experience to walk into that area that lets you into the lobby of the museum and then look up and see sky above you, even though the building is above you," he said.

On the museum's first floor, visitors will find movie theaters and other amenities like a gift shop and cafe. To get to the galleries, they'll take a ride on elevators whose glass-tube design would fit with an intergalactic spaceship.

A rendering of the Lucas Museum lobby
A rendering of the Lucas Museum lobby
MAD Architects

Los Angeles was not the original planned location for the museum, but Bacigalupi said they were happy to be joining the hub of culture and community that already exists in Expo Park. The Lucas Museum is excited to add its own contribution to what is already being offered by the museums in the area, he said.

The museum's physical design, with a lot of curved lines and organic shapes, even echoes certain aspects of the existing structures in Expo Park. 

"Thinking about even [the Coliseum's] design, which is 100 years old or thereabout, it has curvilinear, rounded edges so there is a way in which the building responds to its surroundings and the company we keep," Bacigalupi said.

The model of the Lucas Museum
The model of the Lucas Museum
Sean Twomey/ The Lucas Museum

Aside from the museum building itself, the Lucas Museum is creating 11 acres of green space to extend the visiting experience to the outdoors. 

There's will even be a park on the roof of the museum, Bacigalupi said, extending the green space five stories up and giving people a way to enjoy views of downtown L.A.

The outdoor areas are designed to work as gathering spaces for activities like outdoor film screenings and to complement the indoor spaces of the museum.

"In the south end of our building, there's a library and there's also an outdoor adjacent space that can be used for classroom activities, so if we've got a group of school kids coming for a library and gallery experience they can also go outside," Bacigalupi said.

A rendering of the Lucas Museum gardens
A rendering of the Lucas Museum gardens
Studio - MLA

The whole idea of the museum is to inspire creativity and imagination, a goal which has always driven George Lucas' work, Bacigalupi said. That mission lends itself to a design that is modern and unique in every aspect, from the galleries to the building to the outdoor spaces.

Although it isn't in a galaxy far, far away, the museum's opening date is a long time from now. The museum is now under construction and Bacigalupi said the current expected opening date is in 2021.