The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum on their path to a site in San Francisco’s Presidio.
By Lupita Peimbert
Smile, the “Force,” may come to the Presidio. Promising to bring discovery, education, and innovation, the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum held an open house Monday, as one of three finalists to redevelop a site in one of the most beautiful natural areas in San Francisco, very close to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Representatives from the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum emphasized that by bringing art, science, and technological innovation, the museum would be a tremendous educational resource for the public, especially for young people, and that it would become an active partner for protecting the surrounding natural resources and outstanding views, in alignment with the objectives of the Presidio Trust, the organism that administers the national park.
In their proposal, they say that George Lucas will fund its construction, provide the artwork, and assist in the development of programs and educational curriculum. “The project will not cost any money to taxpayers or to the Presidio Trust,” the project’s proposal says.
“George Lucas has envisioned an institution which educates its young people and families, about the importance of storytelling,” said David Perry, a spokesperson for this project.
As stated in their website, the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum plans to focus on Illustration, children’s illustration, comic art, cinematic art and design, digital art, digital animation, and visual effects and to that end, they plan to develop programs aiming to show and teach. The museum would host collections from partner institutions such as the Smithsonian and have permanent collections, most of them owned by Lucas, many of which have been exhibited around the world. The Star Wars and Indiana Jones collections have been showing the science and innovation behind artifacts and other film components, just to name a few.
“George Lucas’ private collection has enough objects for the cultural arts museum to have new exhibits for 9 years,” Perry said.
A couple of attendees at the open house expressed concerns regarding traffic and the protection of Crissy Field, asked about parking, and questioned the design, but their concerns were addressed apparently to their satisfaction. Perhaps it is too early to detect the real hurdles for this project, but considering how other projects in the San Francisco Bay Area are challenged because of certain ideologies, many of them very valid but some just ‘A la San Francisco’ but also due to interests related to money, rest assured, dear reader, the competition could turn fierce at any moment.
The other two contenders are the Bridge Sustainability Institute proposed by the Chora Group/WRNS, and the Presidio Exchange, proposed by Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Formerly an army post, the Presidio currently is part of the National Park Reservation. As described by the Presidio Trust: “It is a natural, cultural, scenic, and recreational resource.” They also say that ” The Presidio will continue to be distinguished by its ability to attract partners who provide talent and support for transformative work in the park.”
They also need partners who can ensure that the Presidio will have enough capital to be sustainable for a long, long time. George Lucas wants to be that partner; he has the capital, beautiful intentions, and seems to have prepared well for the final competition. Here is one of the reasons:
“I want to create a gathering place where children, parents, and grandparents can experience everything from the great illustrators such as Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish, to comic art and children’s book illustrations along with exhibitions of fashion, cinematic arts, and digital art. The Bay Area was the birthplace of digital arts three decades ago,” Lucas says on the project’s website.
Inevitably, most people think of Star Wars they first learn about a museum by George Lucas. The positive influence of this and other Lucas’ films to our generation is unquestionable. People all over the world admire, love, and respect him. Why would anybody not want a state of the art museum at the Presidio, one that promises to foster innovation and to house collections related to several of the most loved films of our times?
This time again George, keep the smile on. So that the force will not only be with you, but you will bring it to the Presidio!