Gift is a giant boost for plan to build over Wilshire

| November 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

CONCEPTUAL PLAN was released with Draft Environmental Impact Report Oct. 26, showing galleries crossing Wilshire Blvd.

Miracle Mile’s Museum Row is poised to become something of a, well, miraculous entertainment and education destination.

Two new world-class museums are set to open on the historic stretch of Wilshire Boulevard in the coming years, if all goes according to plan.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Academy Museum is rising up from the ground.

And David Geffen’s $150 million pledge to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, announced last month, brings the proposed new museum galleries closer to reality.

DEIR meeting Nov. 7

The Draft Environmental Impact Report for LACMA Building for the Permanent Collection was released Oct. 26. The County of Los Angeles will host a public meeting and give an overview of the project Tues., Nov. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd. (Valdiated parking will be in the Pritzker parking garage.)

The project website is at The  public  review  period   ends  Dec. 15. Send comments to Peter Burgis, Capital Projects, County of Los Angeles, 500 W. Temple St., Room 754, Los Angeles, 90012;

“I will know within a short time after I see the EIR if there will be real issues beyond the normal traffic and parking issues and of course bridging Wilshire with the new design,”

said Jim O’Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association.

That’s right. The new design by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor includes an innovative, or controversial (depending on whom you ask), plan to stretch the galleries across Wilshire Blvd. When adding in the entertainment mogul’s recent gift, a total of $450 million, or about 70 percent, has been raised for the $650 million LACMA project.

“I am thrilled to see this generous gift from Mr. Geffen bring LACMA that much closer to its transformation plans,” Councilman David Ryu said after the announcement Oct. 4. “With construction underway at the Academy Museum and Metro’s Purple Line, this region is experiencing a renaissance like never before — and the new campus at LACMA will be its flagship.”

Museum director Michael Govan, a Hancock Park resident, has spearheaded the fundraising campaign for LACMA’s rebuilding and expansion, which has been 20 years in the making. The Geffen donation that Govan secured is the largest gift ever made to construct a U.S. museum.

Named the David Geffen Galleries in honor of the donor, the new building will enable the museum’s encyclopedic collection to be shown and experienced in innovative ways, Govan has said.

“At a time when federal funding for the arts is threatened, it’s important that we foster public-private partnerships, like this one, to support arts and cultural institutions,” Geffen said.

Groundbreaking is targeted for 2019, and the structure is set to open at the same time as the Metro Purple Line subway extension — which has a stop across from the museum — in 2023.

New plans at Tar Pits, too

Other changes may be afoot in Museum Row. In response to a late-October query from the Larchmont Chronicle, Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, president and director of the Natural History Family of Museums, said, “We will be exploring a master planning process for Hancock Park, the Tar Pits and the museum in the next few years to re-imagine this world-famous Ice Age fossil site as an unparalleled experience — for neighbors and tourists — and research center. We are just completing our overall strategic plan and then will begin preliminary planning for the Tar Pits, starting with community listening sessions to help inform our master planning process. Stay tuned.”

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