In 1986, artist Milenko Matanovic founded the Pomegranate Center to explore how artists could use their craft to bring communities together. In 1991, we led our first community engagement process with the City of Issaquah, collaborating with 250 residents to establish the priorities needed for the future health of the city. In the same year, we partnered with celebrated visual artist James Hubbell to create a community gathering place in Tecate, Mexico to study what happens when a group of strangers are brought together to design and build a public space to gather and celebrate. Through this experience, the Pomegranate Center began developing the community engagement model we use today.
Over the next 30 years and dozens of projects with municipalities, federal agencies, housing authorities, schools, foundations, and nonprofits, the Center refined its methodology into the Pomegranate Method, a training program that teaches inclusive and effective community collaboration. To date, we have led more than 400 community meetings, trained hundreds of people in the Pomegranate Method, and created 60+ parks, gardens, art installations, and other public spaces.
Our core mission is to teach people the art and practice of collaboration. Based in Seattle, WA, we serve communities throughout the Pacific Northwest with a special focus on Washington, Oregon, and California. Our unique style of community building combines artistic vision with effective community planning, broad and inclusive public participation, hands-on learning and leadership development, and the transformation of desolate spaces into thriving gathering places.