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Mayor Names Task Force To Find Location For Lucas Museum

Film director George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Film director George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed a task force of a dozen civic leaders to find a potential location in Chicago where “Star Wars” creator George Lucas could build a new interactive art and filmmaking museum.

Lucas had been seeking to build the museum in San Francisco, where he’s lived most of his life, but city officials turned down his bid to build it at the prestigious Presidio National Park, with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, so a Lucas spokesman said the filmmaker is considering other locations. Chicago is now a top contender for the museum.

Last year, Lucas married Chicago native and investment guru Mellody Hobson, and now has a second home here. The museum would digital design, filmmaking, animation, and his love of art, especially Norman Rockwell.

“The City of Chicago is honored to be considered by George Lucas as the future home of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. As George’s adopted hometown, we are excited by the opportunity to host the collection and educational programming of one of the world’s most renowned filmmakers,” the mayor said in a news release. “This task force of community, cultural and urban planning leaders will help us to determine a proper location for this unique institution that will be a local educational anchor and major international tourism draw.”

Emanuel has tapped Gillian Darlow, chief executive officer of the Polk Bros. Foundation; and Kurt Summers, senior vice president of Grosvenor Capital Management, to co-chair the task force. Other members include Shedd Aquarium CEO Ted Beattie; Lee Bey, an urban planner with the University of Chicago and former aide to former Mayor Richard M. Daley; Art Institute President Walter Massey; Chicago Federation of Labor president Jorge Ramirez; former Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th); and five others.

The mayor has asked for recommendations by mid-May. He has asked the task force to come up with a site that won’t require taxpayer funding, will be accessible to the entire city, and be comparable in size to other “major cultural institutions” in Chicago.

A Lucas spokesman already has said the $300 million museum wouldn’t cost the taxpayers one penny. It would be Lucas’ gift to the city.