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George Lucas breaks ground on US$1 billion story-telling museum

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Film-maker George Lucas (left), seen here with writer-director J.J. Abrams, quipped that the museum "supports all the orphan arts that nobody else wants to see, but everybody loves."

Los Angeles

STAR Wars film-maker George Lucas broke ground on his new US$1 billion story-telling museum on Wednesday, saying it will embrace art of all kinds.

The museum, near the University of Southern California in south Los Angeles where Lucas studied film, will feature some of the director's collection of paintings, illustrations and digital art from the Star Wars movie franchise he started in 1977.

The self-funded Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be a non-profit enterprise and is expected to take about four years to build.

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It will showcase traditional and popular art, including animation, digital and comic art and will also house dining space, theatres, lecture halls, classrooms and a public research library.

"I believe in all kinds of art. And I believe all kinds of art have a right to exist. I think it's important to have a museum that I used to jokingly say, supports all the orphan arts that nobody else wants to see, but everybody loves. So that's my dream for this," Lucas said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

"Popular art is an insight into a society and what they aspire to, what they really want, what they really are, because it's telling that narrative of their story, their history, their belief system," he added.

Lucas has donated several items from his personal art collection, which includes paintings and film memorabilia.

Luke Skywalker's first light saber, Darth Vader's helmet, and pieces from Casablanca, The Ten Commandments and The Wizard of Oz are set for display at the museum, Variety reported.

Lucas sold his Star Wars franchise to Walt Disney in 2012 for US$4 billion. REUTERS