AMPAS progressing on capital campaign, museum set to open in 2016

The long-anticipated Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is ready to take its next step forward.

AMPAS announced that it has reached its initial goal of raising $100 million toward its $250 million capital campaign to fund the museum in the former May Co. building on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and now has a scheduled opening date of 2016.

With Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali designing, the institution will be the first major U.S. museum devoted to the history and development of film.

“The Academy museum will be a landmark that both our industry and our city can be immensely proud of,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “I appreciate the unwavering support of our board, our members, and especially our campaign chairs, all of whom have led us through this crucial stage.”

Nearly 300,000 square feet of space is available in the May Co. building, now known as LACMA West. The building has lingered in limbo while LACMA has redeveloped the rest of its campus, with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Piano at the forefront of that activity.

The Academy museum will restore the Wilshire and Fairfax streetfront facades of the 1938 Streamline Moderne building and also include a spherical glass addition at the back of the original building. In addition, a state-of-the-art theater will replace an extension made to the structure in 1946.

“The design for the museum will finally enable this wonderful building to be animated and contribute to the city after sitting empty for so long,” Piano said. “I am very inspired by the Academy’s name and mission, 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.”

The first $100 million was raised in a campaign that officially began in early 2012 and was led by chair Bob Iger and co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks. The trio and their spouses (Willow Bay, Warren Beatty and Rita Wilson, respectively) were among the leading contributors during the quiet stage of fundraising.

“The early response to our fundraising campaign has been outstanding and is incredibly encouraging,” said Iger. “We are so grateful to the founding supporters of the campaign, who share our vision and passion for creating the Academy Museum.”

AMPAS intends for the museum to offer immersive exhibitions and galleries, special screening rooms, and an interactive education center with demonstration labs. These offerings will draw from the Academy’s collections and archives that include more than 140,000 films, 10 million photographs and 42,000 original film posters, as well as production drawings, costumes, props, movie-making equipment and behind-the-scenes personal accounts from artists and innovators.

“A major movie museum in the heart of this city has been a long-held dream of the Academy,” said Academy prexy Hawk Koch. “Thanks to the latest technological developments we can take the visiting public through time, back into our history and forward toward our future.”

The Academy will also set up an endowment to support the museum’s long-term programming.

“The Academy Museum will have a profound impact on the cultural landscape of Los Angeles,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “The decision to locate this museum in a historic building on LACMA’s campus will bring incredible benefits to both institutions and their visitors. It is a whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts.”

Signifiant contributors to the campaign also include the families of past Academy presidents and governors: Bill Condon and Jack Morrissey, Richard and Bonnie Cook, Rob and Shari Friedman, Sid and Nancy Ganis, Jim and Ann Gianopulos, Gale Anne Hurd, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, Hawk and Molly Koch, John and Nancy Lasseter, Walter Mirisch and Lawrence Mirisch, Bob and Kay Rehme, and Tom and Madeleine Sherak.

Other contributors include such industry guilds as the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, and the Writers Guild of America, West, as well as The Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Lionsgate.

Also contributing are Dolby Laboratories, Panavision, Technicolor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Entertainment Partners/Central Casting, Girard-Perregaux Watches and The New York Times, and individuals and foundations including Cecilia DeMille Presley, Lucasfilm Foundation, Shirley Temple Black and Family, Ken and Carol Schultz, The Mary Pickford Foundation, Alan and Cindy Horn, Frank and Fay Mancuso, Bob and Eva Shaye, The Four Friends Foundation, the Film Music Foundation, and Jerry and Linda Bruckheimer

“Hollywood has played an unparalleled role in bringing American art, culture and creativity to people around the world,” Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “The Academy Museum will be a remarkable resource for L.A. that will both celebrate the industry that has defined our city and provide an essential resource that reinforces our position as leader and innovator.”

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