SANTA MONICA—At a regular meeting held May 23, city council unanimously voted to cancel a development agreement with Santa Monica Place, which prevented a shuttered ArcLight Cinema from being repurposed. This decision was one of the last legal steps needed to begin transforming the vacant movie theater into an art museum.
In 2015, an ArcLight Cinema complex was built in a vacant spot on the third floor of Santa Monica Place, an outdoor shopping center with brand-name stores and restaurants. The theater thrived until the spread of Covid-19 which prevented movie-goers from purchasing tickets; it closed its doors permanently in 2020.
Shortly after, Decurion Corporation, which owned the ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theater chains, announced the mass closure of approximately 300 movie screens across Southern California on April 12, 2021. Included was the loss of Hollywood’s historic Arclight Cinerama Dome as well as several other locations across Los Angeles.
In January of 2023, Macerich, a real estate investment trust based in Santa Monica, announced plans to replace the Santa Monica Place ArcLight location with the Arte Museum.
The Arte Museum, planned and produced by d’strict, a digital design company, is Korea’s most popular media art exhibition space.
D’strict is behind the highly acclaimed public art project “WAVE” at K-pop Square in Seoul, South Korea. The installation features a three-dimensional, realistic wave washing across a 300-foot wide by 70-foot tall LED screen. D’strict is also dubbed as the “creative mastermind” behind “Waterfall-NYC” and “Whale #2” in New York City’s Times Square.
“We are very pleased to welcome ARTE MUSEUM, the internationally lauded media art exhibition space, to Santa Monica Place,” said Macerich Executive Vice President Cory Scott in a statement.
The “48,000-square-foot immersive art destination” at Santa Monica Place is expected to draw one million visitors to the shopping center annually. The Arte Museum is set to open in early 2024.
By Paige Strickland