Star Wars Creator George Lucas Donates $25 Million to Chicago School for New Arts Hall


The George Lucas Family Foundation has made a gift of $25 million to the University of Chicago to fund the construction of the school's new arts hall.

Filmmaker George Lucas and his wife, financial executive Mellody Hobson have asked the school to name the building in honor of American photographer, writer, film director, musician and social justice advocate, Gordon Parks.

The Gordon Parks Arts Hall, scheduled to open 2015, will house programs in theater, music and visual arts; three new performance halls, a 150-seat drama studio, four art studios, large musical rehearsal spaces, practice rooms and a digital media and photographer lab among others.

The three-story 86,000 square-foot building will also include a combination lobby and art gallery, a 700-seat assembly, musical performance auditorium, a 250-seat theater, , a digital media and photographer lab, a theater scenery shop, a costume shop and affiliated administrative space.

"This generous grant will amplify the role of the arts within the core of the distinctive education offered by the Laboratory Schools, and create new opportunities for imagining the role of the arts within the curriculum," President Robert J. Zimmer said in a statement. "Naming the arts hall for Gordon Parks, who had roots in Chicago, resonates deeply with the mission of the schools. We are very grateful to Mellody and George for this extraordinary support, which will have an impact for generations to come."

Lucas believes that the art school will play an important role in shaping the lives of future generations. Hobson said that naming the building after an African American honors the contributions to the society by people of color.

George Lucas, president of the George Lucas Family Foundation, is one of the prominent filmmakers in the world. He is best known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, and American Graffiti among others.

Besides the family foundation, Lucas, who is also a well known businessman and philanthropist, also established the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Along with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, Lucas encourages high-level philanthropy. 

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