Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is taking to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to muscle his city into contention for director George Lucas’s museum of everything from Darth Vader’s costume to Norman Rockwell paintings.
Chicago and San Francisco have been vying for the $300 million museum to house the collection of art and design belonging to the billionaire creator of the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises. Garcetti, 43, in office for almost a year, is hoping to lure Lucas by getting Angelinos to make their best pitches under the hashtag #WhyLucasInLA.
Suggestions range from the practical -- Los Angeles gets 40 million visitors a year -- to the abstract: “#starwars has taught gen’s of kids good will defeat bad & in #LA there’s such a divide between light and dark!”
“This center presents such an amazing opportunity to inspire creativity, especially in our youth,” Garcetti wrote in an open letter to Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, who is president of Ariel Investments LLC. “We’d like you to consider opening your museum in a place where its impact can be amplified like no other, Los Angeles.”
Garcetti’s website features an image of the mayor holding a sign with a drawing of R2-D2, the bleeping robot of the “Star Wars” movies, with the insignia “LA” across its midsection.
Lucas’s camp is scheduled to make a decision in the next few weeks, David Perry, a spokesman for the museum planners, said by e-mail. He declined to comment on the competition among cities or whether Garcetti’s social-media campaign might sway Lucas, a graduate of the University of Southern California who lives near San Francisco, and Hobson, a Chicago native.
“Since the beginning of this process, we have indicated that several cities had expressed an interest in the possible location of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum,” Perry said. “We are grateful for everyone’s enthusiasm for this project.”
Garcetti is proposing a location in Exposition Park, which houses museums such as the California Science Center and the Natural History Center near USC. Spokeswoman Molly Fowler noted Los Angeles’s role in entertainment and movies and status as a center of “storytellers and innovators.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel formed a task force in April to identify locations for a museum in the city after federal officials rejected Lucas’s proposal to situate the museum in a national park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco instructed aides to look for alternate sites in the city.