LACMA And Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Create New Movie Museum
"It is appropriate and long overdue for the city that is home to the motion picture industry to recognize this art form with a museum of its own," said co-chair of the LACMA Board of Trustees Terry Semel. "The LACMA Board is delighted to be facilitating this important cultural event."
A press release from the organizations relayed their shared belief that a museum dedicated to motion pictures will flourish into a new and unique cultural center. LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan called the development a "seismic shift in the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, and an extraordinary new resource for residents proud of their local history," as well as fans of cinema the world over.
The Board of Governors from both the Academy and LACMA agreed to a memorandum of understanding to work in good faith on the project. Their next step will be to discuss details of a future contract, followed by plans made by the Academy for fundraising, design, exhibitions, visitor experience, and modifications to the historic site currently known as LACMA West.
The museum is set to be housed in the historic May Company building. LACMA West, which formerly housed the May Company department store, is set to house the new museum. Fittingly, the May Co. building was built during one of the greatest years in film history. 1939 saw the release of classics like "Gone with the Wind," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "The Wizard of Oz."
"This is a truly wonderful development that will have lasting cultural and economic impact on Los Angeles, and certainly on our campus, programs and the public we serve," Govan wrote in an announcement to the LACMA network.
Semel, who served as chairman and co-chief executive officer at Warner Bros. for 24 years before moving on to his posts as chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Incorporated, said he was thrilled to announce the project after dedicated "most of his life to the great art of movies."
"The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will provide a much needed destination for cultural tourists and Los Angelenos to learn more about cinema, and the setting could not be more ideal, nestled next to the largest encyclopedic art museum in the Western United States," Semel said.
This marks the most significant step towards bringing to fruition a Tinseltown goal that dates back to the mid-1960s. The Academy will next mount a new fundraising campaign for the museum, through which they hope to illuminate the way movies reflect and impact culture with an entertaining and interactive experience.
AMPAS hopes to benefit from LACMA's experience in managing an internationally-renowned arts institution while still maintaining autonomy over all aspects of the museum and its exhibitions. The museum is expected to showcase both permanent and rotating exhibitions in the facility's 300,000 gross square feet gallery space.
"The new museum will be a world-class destination that is a tangible representation of the Academy's mission," wrote Academy President Tom Sherak. "And the idea of our museum being part of a larger cultural center for the arts, in this city that we love, was incredibly compelling to the Academy Board."
Academy CEO Dawn Hudson is thrilled to make AMPAS's resources, such as the archives and library, and activities more visible and accessible to Angelenos throughout the entire year, and not just during Oscar season.
"Finally, our industry will have a dedicated space where we can inform and excite people about the endless range and possibilities of motion pictures," Hudson said.
Reach reporter Allegra Tepper here.
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