Lucas Museum of Narrative Art opening pushed back to 2025

Though it’s technically already landed at Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, visitors will now have to wait a little longer before the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which flies toward an alien spacecraft, opens its doors.

As first reported by the Los Angeles Timesthe ongoing saga of the George Lucas-backed institution continues with the news that it will now open in 2025. After moving from Chicago to an 11-acre campus in south LA in 2016 after local opposition, the high-profile, delay-plagued project was initially target open this year. However, in April 2021, museum officials announced that an opening would take place a year later, in 2023, due to pandemic-related slowdowns. A 2023 debut was apparently fair too early As of now, the curvilinear, 300,000-square-foot museum complex, designed by MAD Architects with Stantec in the role of executive architect and Studio-MLA leading campus landscaping, has been delayed an additional two years.

Groundbreaking for the $1 billion project took place in March 2018.

Museum officials announced the new delay in a Sept. 20 press release, while also revealing construction milestones achieved so far and unveiling the forthcoming museum’s expansive art collection, which will include works ranging “from ancient Roman mosaics to Renaissance painting to… of contemporary photography,” the museum explained. “Representing diverse cultures and artistic mediums, the museum’s collection demonstrates the breadth of themes and viewpoints through which narrative art is able to appeal to a dynamic and diverse audience.” Artists represented in the collection include Lucas Cranach the Elder, Kerry James Marshall and John Singer Sargent, as well as contemporary works by Weshyot Alvitre, Ernie Barnes, Jaime Hernandez and Cara Romero. The collection, which will ultimately be on display in the new museum’s 100,000 square feet of gallery space, is drawn from Star Wars director and entrepreneur George Lucas’ personal collection of more than 100,000 items, including paintings, photographs, murals, sculpture, multimedia works and more .

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Aerial view of the park area on a museum campus
Aerial view of the under construction of the Lucas Museum Park and Gardens, June 28, 2022. (© 2022 Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Sandra Jackson-Dumont, director and CEO of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, said in a statement:

“It is humbling and stimulating to see all aspects of this new public resource taking shape. We believe that narrative art can connect us and help shape a more just society. Consequently, every element of this institution contributes to this idea – the place is a physical manifestation of it. The campus, with its iconic building and domed belly forming a canopy, along with the 200+ trees that take root in the park, together form another community gathering place with much-needed shade for our neighbors and others who will use the site. Another manifestation of this idea is the museum’s beautifully evolving collection of narrative art, which offers multi-faceted perspectives through the stories people have told throughout history. Through these works, we hope to inspire complex and nuanced conversations that can impact how people understand the world, but perhaps even what they choose to do in the world. We are thrilled to share this significant advance and I look forward to updating the public as we move forward.”

Regarding the construction milestones, museum officials said installation of the five-story building’s more than 1,500 curved glass fiber reinforced polymer panels on the south facade of the building has now begun. Meanwhile, tree planting has begun on the museum’s park-like grounds, which will also include an amphitheater, hanging garden and footbridge.

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Installation of facade panels
Lucas Museum facade construction, August 3, 2022, (© 2022 JAKS Productions. Photo courtesy USC School of Cinematic Arts/ Roberto Gomez)

In addition to the Lucas Museum, another major project at Exposition Park, a state complex that formerly housed an agricultural fairgrounds, is a space shuttle that will house a 200,000-square-foot expansion of the California Science Center led by ZGF Architects. Also in the 160-acre Exposition Park is the National History Museum of Los Angeles County (also in expansion), the California African American Museum, the Gensler-designed Banc of California Stadium, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. These final two anchor locations in the park will serve as key venues during the 2028 Summer Olympics, with the historic LA Coliseum scheduled to host both the opening and closing ceremonies.

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Although the Lucas Museum is a little closer than originally expected, it will debut well before the start of the 2028 Summer Games.

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