The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools has announced a $25 million gift from the George Lucas Family Foundation in support of a new arts hall.
Set to open in 2015 on the university's Hyde Park campus, the three-story, 86,000 square-foot building will comprise a combination lobby and art gallery, a 700-seat auditorium, a 250-seat theater, a drama studio, four art studios, a digital media and photography lab, large musical rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, a theater scenery shop, and affiliated administrative space.
At the request of filmmaker George Lucas and his wife, financial executive Mellody Hobson, the building will be named in honor of the iconic American photographer/writer/film director/social justice advocate Gordon Parks. The grant concludes the Lab+ Campaign, which raised $80 million in support of the schools, surpassing the original $40 million goal.
"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," said Lab Schools president Robert J. Zimmer. "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."