The Academy has taken another big step toward establishing its long-in-the-making motion picture museum right in the heart of Los Angeles. The organization announced today that it has reached its initial goal of $100 million toward a $250 capital campaign to fund the project, which will be housed within the former Wilshire May Company building on the southwest corner of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s campus on Wilshire Blvd.
Concurrently, the Academy also unveiled its vision for the museum, which is designed by architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali and set to open in 2016. The non-profit enterprise “will be a landmark that both our industry and our city can be immensely proud of,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said via press release, and indeed, it’s a bold and unique undertaking that comes at a crucial time for the preservation of film and continued cinema history education.
The campaign to fund the museum was launched earlier this year by chair Bob Iger and co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks. Private donations have brought them to the $100 million mark and so the nearly 300,000 square-foot facility — which will also revitalize the historic Wilshire May Company building that has been vacant or underutilized for two decades — has a huge wind in its sails.
The $100 million includes significant commitments from the chairs and their families, Academy Governors and other brass — from Bill Condon and Sid Ganis to Jim Gianopulos and John Lasseter to Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall — as well as corporate partners such as Dolby Laboratories and Technicolor. Film studios and guilds are also in the fold, making the entire undertaking one of the most significant collective industry efforts in history.
The design of the museum, the Academy announced, fully restores the Wilshire and Fairfax street-front facades and includes a spherical glass addition at the back of the original building. It is “designed to represent the marriage of art and technology,” the press release reads, and will include a state-of-the-art theater, naturally.
The facility will also feature immersive exhibitions and galleries, special screening rooms and an interactive education center with demonstration labs. The Academy’s extensive archives, including 140,000 films, 10 million photographs, 42,000 original film posters and 10,000 production drawings, costumes, props and movie-making equipment will also be thoroughly tapped
“I am very inspired by the Academy”s name and mission,” Piano said in the release, “the idea of the arts and sciences working together to create films. Our design will preserve the May Company building”s historic public profile while simultaneously signaling that the building is taking on a new life that celebrates both the industry and art form that this city created and gave to the world.”
They even got the mayor to chime in on the undertaking. “Hollywood has played an unparalleled role in bringing American art, culture and creativity to people around the world,” Antonio Villaraigosa said in the release. The Academy Museum will be a remarkable resource for L.A.”
It’s a big project and a vital one, and it seems to be moving along faster than many would have expected. If you’re looking to contribute in some way to a major moment int he world of film, you could do a lot worse than this. Here are some details on what you can do.