Interview With Lucas Cultural Arts Museum’s David Perry

The San Francisco Presidio was originally an army base and now has become the go to destination for Disney fans in Northern California. The Presidio has joined the list of locations that include Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the Aulani– the Disney fan want list.

In 2009, the Walt Disney Family Museum opened in the Presidio to honor Walt Disney, the person who created magical experiences for people around the world. The museum is a fantastic place that tells the story of Walt Disney's life in ten beautifully designed galleries. Visitors have the chance to go deeper into little known aspects of Disney with monthly presentations by Disney legends. This museum alone should have Disney fans moving San Francisco to the top of their travel list.

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But, there is even more in the works for Disney fans in the Presidio. Three years ago, George Lucas began to plan what he would do with the rest of his life after he sold Star Wars. One of his main goals is to open a museum dedicated to the fine art of storytelling.

The museum would be the second property George Lucas has helped to create in the Presidio. LucasFilm and Industrial Light and Magic have been based in the Presidio since 2005 when Lucas rebuilt the Letterman Hospital and created one of the top startup and digital workspaces in San Francisco.

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But, there hasn't been any groundbreaking ceremony for his museum in the Presidio just yet. The museum is just one of the three proposals that may be chosen to fill the single bay front vacant property.

David Perry, the head of PR for the museum, reached out to me after seeing the original detailed article about the museum that I wrote, to share some more information.

Gavin Doyle/DisneyDose.com: Hello David, thank you for joining us today. Could you give a little bit of a backstory on the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum and what George Lucas' goals are with it?

David Perry/Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: George is one of of the only people in the world who literally needs no introduction. George sold LucasFilm to Disney in October and now he wants to share his world class art collection with the world.  He decided in his retirement years he wants to dedicate his time to this museum. It isn't just his physical art collection, which includes works from artists like N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, and Joseph Christian Leyendecker, people he saw in the Saturday Evening Post, but also includes digital art from the LucasFilms collection and other companies.

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The mission of the museum is to show the importance of the history of storytelling. All art is about technology. 20,000 years ago when the cavemen were painting in the Cave of Altamira, the technology was a blowpipe, a jar of pigment, and their hands. So now, the tools are just different.

Artists are using the tools of the day to create digital art. John Lasseter, who I know I don't have to introduce to you Disney fans, was speaking at a public meeting in the Presidio and explained, “Computers are really stupid. Computers need artists to bring them to life.” So, when someone says that digital art isn't as valid as a Renoir, we dismiss that. Both Renoir and the digital artists used their medium to express themselves artistically in similar ways.

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This museum will encompass the history of storytelling and a huge part of it is George's personal connection. If we only used his art, we could rotate an exhibit every 6 months for 9 years an NEVER repeat a piece of art. The collection is worth anything from $600 million to priceless.
Having the museum in San Francisco is a perfect fit for the Presidio and for George Lucas. Lucas has built his business here in San Francisco, and feels that the best place to honor the art from that he helped to created would be here in the Presidio. At the moment, the museum concept is one of the final three concepts that could be chosen for the available space that was previously an army commissary when the Presidio was an army base.
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Gavin Doyle/DisneyDose.comWhen did George Lucas first want to create this museum?
David Perry/Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: 

In one sense you could say he has wanted to create a museum since the 1960s when he started to collect art. But, he has really been dedicated to the idea and location for the past three or four years.

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Gavin Doyle/DisneyDose.comWhat are the chances at the moment for the museum to be built?
David Perry/Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: The chances of the museum being built are 100%. But, the chances for the museum to be built in the Presidio is 33%, we are one in three finalists, we really don't know. The Presidio trust, the governing body of the Presidio, will make the decision based on their goals of protecting, preserving, and nurturing the Presidio. The Presidio is a National Park, and so no one, but the seven people who govern the Presidio Trust can make this decision.
Gavin Doyle/DisneyDose.comWhen do we find out if we are getting the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum in San Francisco?
David Perry/Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: Well, there is a meeting the 24th of October, and we will know the final decision sometime after the meeting. The meeting on October 24th, at 6pm at the Observation Post is public, and if you are local to the Bay Area, we really ask that you come out and show your support for the project. You can also voice your opinion by commenting on the Presidio profile page. This is the only place that opinions are heard, so please comment there. We really want people to say why they think the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum is important to the next generation of artists.
 Gavin Doyle/DisneyDose.comHow will the museum feature Disney, Pixar, and LucasFilm?
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David Perry/Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: We don't know quite yet what pieces will be featured, because we haven't hired a curator yet. It isn't a Disney Museum, it isn't a Pixar Museum, it isn't a Star Wars museum, it is a museum of storytelling. There is already the Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio, in fact Diane Disney, Walt Disney's daughter and founder of the Disney museum, recently endorsed our project.
Gavin Doyle/DisneyDose.comWill there be any dedicated Star Wars exhibits?
David Perry/Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: One of the galleries will always be dedicated to digital art, two of the galleries will be dedicated to George Lucas' permanent collection, and in that permanent collection, there are a lot of items from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones bodies of work. This isn't a Star Wars museum, but if you are a Star Wars fan, you will be pretty darn happy visiting this museum.
Gavin Doyle/DisneyDose.comThanks very much for your time, I look forward to seeing the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum built.
David Perry/Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: Thanks very much Gavin. I hope to see you, and your readers at 6pm on October 24th at the last public meeting in the Presidio at the Observation Post.
That just about wraps up my time here today. Join us in using the power of MiceChat to get the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum built. Be sure to voice your comments on the Presidio website. Also, if you still want to know more about the museum, checkout the videos featuring George Lucas and John Lasseter on our website.
Gavin Doyle runs DisneyDose.com, a Disneyland blog that features everything Mousetacular and hopes to educate the Disney enthusiast. Checkout his website.

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