Update on the Lucas Museum: Official Statement from Mellody Hobson

Lucas Museum

The ongoing, seemingly never-ending, legal battle over the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art could be coming to an unfortunate conclusion. The proposed museum was to be built on lakefront property in Chicago — on land that is currently a parking lot — but plans were halted due to a lawsuit by a small environmental group, Friends of the Parks. They maintain the land is protected and an alternate location should be considered.

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New Proposal Could Help Keep the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago

Lucas Museum

In light of ongoing legal challenges, a new proposal by Mayor Rahm Emanuel could help keep the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago. The proposed home for the museum is currently a parking lot located on Lake Michigan between Soldier Field and the McCormick Place convention center. An environmental group, Friends of the Parks, has held the project at bay as they fight to keep the museum from building on that location, which they argue is protected land.

Hoping to keep George Lucas from moving his museum elsewhere, today’s proposal would keep the museum on the lakefront, but would shift the location to the south of Soldier Field, and would involve demolishing McCormick Place East (one of four buildings that make up the convention center).

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce released this statement today:

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Star Wars Art Launches in NYC

Wired CoverThe reach of the Galaxy far, far away into our own world is very deep. From soup cans to luxury cars, the images are everywhere. But thankfully, Wired Magazine is keeping the art and soul of Star Wars alive by celebrating their collaboration. Wired Magazine, along with the garment company Stance, recently hosted a launch party in New York City for their current issue, which features the photography of Dan Winters. These amazing shots capture everything from Luke’s lightsaber, to Darth Vader’s helmet to the deeply engaging portraits of the Creator, the Producer and the Director.

A few weeks ago, a package came to my door inviting me to this party. Included therein were two pair of socks – to help choose between the Light Side and the Dark Side. I claimed the R2-D2 socks, but didn’t know what to do with the other pair. Then, inspiration! My youngest brother Matt and I have shared a love for Star Wars our whole lives. I called him immediately and asked him to go to the party with me and to wear the stormtrooper socks. He told me that he had never been to New York City before, cried a little, and then rearranged his work schedule for the night of the party.

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The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum Comes Home to Chicago!! – UPDATED with Official Press Release

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George Lucas has made his final decision regarding where to build the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, and it looks like Chicago has the honor. San Francisco and Los Angeles were also in the running but, in the end, the city that has become a second home to Lucas since his marriage to Chicago-based businesswoman Mellody Hobson won the day.

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George Lucas and Mellody Hobson Meet with Chicago Priest and Activist Fr. Michael Phleger

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Star Wars creator George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, have been meeting with anti-violence activist and Roman Catholic priest Father Michael Phleger in Chicago. Fr. Phleger is the pastor of St. Sabina’s, which is home to a large African-American congregation on the south side of the city. The parish is also home to ARK, a community youth center, and St. Sabina Academy. Read more

George Lucas and Mellody Hobson Donate $25 Million to the University of Chicago

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Star Wars creator George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, are donating $25 million to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools to aid in the construction of an arts building. This is in addition to the $25 million donation they made last year to the charity program After School Matters – which was founded by late Chicago first lady, Maggie Daley.

The hall will named in honor of Gordon Parks. Parks was the first African-American photographer to work for Life Magazine, and he was the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood movie. He is best known for directing the 1971 film Shaft. He was also a novelist, a poet, and a composer.

Lucas and his wife issued these statements to the media:

“It was important to us that the University of Chicago campus have a building named for an African American, given the diverse community in which it sits, and the outstanding contributions to our society by people of color,” Hobson said.

And from Lucas: “We believe in the power of art to transform lives and communities. Gordon Parks’ work did just that.”

The fundraising campaign for the arts hall had hoped to raise $40 million, but this gift from the George Lucas Family Foundation helped to boost the total amount raised to $80 million.

The Laboratory Schools has an enrollment of 1,770 students, ranging from nursery school through 12th grade. The Gordon Parks Arts Hall will be a 3-story, 86,000 square foot facility that will feature a 700-seat auditorium, 250-seat theater, 150-seat drama studio, as well as four art studios. The construction cost is estimated at $43.7 million, and the plan is for the hall to open in 2015.

(Source: Chicago Tribune)