Lacma reaches $750m fundraising goal for new Peter Zumthor-designed building

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) revealed this week that it has finally reached its $750m fundraising goal for the capital campaign to fund the construction of its new building, the David Geffen Galleries, designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Four-fifths of the funding has come from private donations, with the remaining 20% (or $150m) from Los Angeles County.

The museum also announced on Tuesday (22 August) that the new building, which stretches dramatically across Wilshire Boulevard, is now 65% complete. The museum has secured at least $14m in additional support since its previous fundraising update, in March of this year, when the total tally stood at $736m and the institution added several more trustees to its board.

“We have reached this milestone thanks to the extraordinary generosity and hard work of so many people,” Michael Govan, Lacma’s director and chief executive, said in a statement. “The David Geffen Galleries will be not only a sublime new home for Lacma’s collections, but a testament to a remarkable wellspring of civic pride and an incredible gift to Los Angeles.”

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the museum’s building project in 2019 (at the time, its estimated cost was $650m). The project has been the subject of much debate and opposition—with one Lacma supporter, the Ahmanson Foundation, even suspending its funding while it sought clarity about how the acquisitions it had supported would be displayed in the new building. The most recent estimate is that construction of the project—which will not only include Zumthor’s amoebic elevated building but also 3.5 acres of outdoor space for public art and programming—will be completed in late 2024.

In addition to Los Angeles County and David Geffen—who in 2017 pledged $150m toward the campaign to build the galleries that will bear his name—the project has received more than $50m in support from both the collector Elaine P. Wynn and the foundation of late oilman W.M. Keck. Supporters in the $20m to $50m tranche include film producer Steve Tisch and agribusiness billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick.

Starbucks chairperson Mellody Hobson and her husband, Star Wars film-maker George Lucas, have contributed more than $10m to the Lacma building campaign, while they have put as much as $1bn into their own massive museum construction project just seven miles to the southeast. (Their Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is now expected to open in Exposition Park in 2025.)

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