Mayor Assembles Task Force for George Lucas Museum

The 12-member team is searching for the best potential location for the museum.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has created a task force of community leaders to decide on a potential location for George Lucas' arts museum.

The 12-member team is tasked with determining a location that is easy to get to and large enough to host a museum comparable to the city's other major cultural institutions. In addition, the site must not require taxpayer dollars to pay for it.

The task force will accept public input before making recommendations by mid-May. The chosen location will compete against proposed locations in other cities, including San Francisco, where Lucas spent most of his life.

Members of the task force include community and cultural leaders, local development practitioners and urban planners, including:

  • Ted Beattie, president and CEO of the Shedd Aquarium
  • Lee Bey, special projects manager at the University of Chicago
  • Gia Biagi, chief of staff at the Chicago Park District
  • Michelle Boone, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
  • Gillian Darlow, chief executive officer of the Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Nilda Esparza, director of youth and cultural programming at Latinos Progresando
  • Jeanne Gang, founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects
  • Walter Massey, president of the School of the Art Institute
  • Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Mary Ann Smith, former alderman of the 48th ward
  • Jackie Samuel, director of the New Communities Program at Claretian Associates
  • Kurt Summers, senior vice president of Grosvenor Capital Management

Star Wars creator George Lucas wants to create the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum to display his collection of Norman Rockwell paintings and Star Wars memorabilia. Lucas had his eye on Chicago to host the museum after discussions with leaders in San Francisco fell through.

The museum would feature an exhibit with props, costumes and designs from Lucas' films. Other exhibits would feature digital art and pieces from Lucas's private art collection, which includes modern masterpieces created by the likes of Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth.

Lucas would pay the $300 million price tag for this museum out of his own pocket and would endow another $400 million to keep it running.

Lucas, 69, already has ties to Chicago. He and his wife, Mellody Hobson, in February donated $25 million to the University of Chicago. Hobson is the president of the Chicago firm Ariel Investments. The filmmaker last year donated another $25 million to After School Matters, the charity created by former Chicago first lady Maggie Daley.

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