You could be forgiven for doubting that George Lucas' US$1.5 billion museum would ever happen, but it's official: the much-anticipated project has finally got underway. A groundbreaking ceremony took place recently and it is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021.

There have been more twists and turns to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art's story than a Hollywood movie, but to recap, the project started off as a bulbous volcano-like structure in Chicago, underwent a redesign and was seemingly on track before ultimately being cancelled amid acrimony and ended up relocating to Los Angeles with a new and improved design.

Looking like some kind of futuristic spaceship that wouldn't be too out of place in one of Lucas' movies, the museum will be located in LA's Exposition Park on the site of some former parking lots. Landscaping is being handled by local firm Studio-MLA.

The first floor and greenery-covered roof areas will be open to the public, while the museum proper is envisioned as a huge cavernous space. It will measure some 300,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m) and include a public research library and classrooms.

The collection of art to be installed is valued at over $400 million and will be divided into three categories: Narrative Art, the Art of Cinema, and Digital Art. Donated by George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson, the collection includes over 10,000 paintings, illustrations and movie memorabilia.

"Yes, this is an art museum, but I'm also trying to position it as an anthropological museum," says Lucas. "It is my feeling that popular art is an insight into a society and what they aspire to; what they really want, what they really are — it is about telling the narrative of their story, their history and their belief system. I believe all kinds of art have a right to exist. I think it's important to have a museum, that I used to jokingly say, supports all the orphan arts that nobody wants to see, but everybody loves. So that's my dream for this."

Sources: MAD, Lucas Museum

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