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Milenko Matanovic
Pomegranate Center
P.O.Box 486
Issaquah, WA 98027
TEL (425) 557-6412 • FAX (425) 557-4662 • e-mail



1986-Present     Founder/Executive Director of Pomegranate Center

1972-1986          Freelance Artist, Musician, Educator

1965-1971          Member of group OHO, a multi-disciplinary art cooperative

1966-1970          University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, majoring in Art History


Lead Design & Community Facilitation: Selected Community Gathering Places

  • Milton-Freewater Gathering Place, Milton-Freewater, OR,–Invited to help infuse creativity and economic vitality into this small rural community, ran a complete Fellows Training, assisted with community visioning process then with 160+ volunteers, we transformed an empty lot into a gorgeous central gathering place that celebrates the town’s historic elements and diversity, 2015
  • Makah Tribe Beach House, Neah Bay, WA–collaboration with the Makah Tribe to design and construct a gathering place for community dances, basket-weaving and carving demonstrations, and more, 2015
  • Valle Lindo, Walla Walla, WA,–this hands-on component of our Walla Walla Fellows Training resulted in a welcoming gathering place for children to play, families to host celebrations, and for the whole community to hold cultural festivities, 2014
  • Prescott Plaza, Prescott, WA,–transformation of an abandoned lot into a colorful gathering place that celebrates the historic elements of this small town and embodies the heritage of this rural area, 2014
  • Butterfly Park, National City, CA, revitalized park space featuring a stage adorned with an acid-washed butterfly wing, amphitheater-style seating, hand-made tiles, garden beds, and various mosaic impressions, 2013
  • Manzanita Gathering Place, National City, CA,,–provided mentorship to Pomegranate-trained leaders to transform a 1,500 square-foot space on a neglected street on a $20,000 budget in only three months, 2013
  • Alberta Gathering Place, Tuscaloosa, AL–a gathering place made possible with a grant from Tully’s Coffee of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, built in June 2012 with 450 volunteers who gave 3500 hours of time and raised $50,000 in in-kind donations
  • 2011 Gathering Places Projects, Seattle, Mercer Island, Sumner, Kirkland, WA –four gathering places made possible with a grant from Tully’s Coffee of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, built in five months with 781 volunteers who gave 8000 hours of time.
  • Factoria Community Project, Bellevue, WA–turning a prominent green space owned by a Lutheran Church into a place for the whole community, with shelters and amphitheater, 2011
  • Washington Park Gathering Place, Walla Walla, WA— designed and built (with 1500 community volunteers hours) a stage and dance floor, artistic gateways, handcrafted benches and tables from salvaged black walnut, art banners. Recipient of the 2011 Governor’s Smart Communities Award, 2010
  • Edith-Carrie Gathering Place, Walla Walla, WA— designed and built (with 750 community volunteers hours) an amphitheater, artistic fence, gateway, benches, shelter, and kiosk, 2008
  • Commons Park Amphitheater, High Point, Seattle—designed and built an outdoor community gathering place for 100 people; the stage features wood carvings made with community participation, 2007-2008
  • King George Park Gathering Place, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada—design/build studio with local volunteers and artists resulting in an amphitheater for 150 people, 2005-06
  • Croft Place, West Seattle, WA—community-made art works, gateways, bus shelter, benches, 2005-06
  • High Point Development, Seattle, WA—designed community garden enhancements, pocket parks, kiosks and artistic trash receptacles; client: Seattle Housing Authority, 2003-06
  • Pickering Farm Community Teaching Garden, Issaquah, Washington—led the design and created outdoor classroom and four green-roof shelters, 2003
  • Riverwalk Point, Spokane, Washington—created a gathering place, tables, benches, school-bus shelter, and art-logos for five buildings, 2003
  • Springwood Apartments, Kent, Washington—led design development to cost-effectively rehabilitate the outdoor amenities in the 8th largest subsidized housing complex in Washington state; 2001-2002
  • Terrace Hill Gathering Place, Redmond, Washington—designed and built bus shelter, pathway and play area with residents of the Terrace Hill affordable housing complex owned by St. Andrews Housing Group; 2000-2001
  • Esperanza, Mattawa, Washington—designed and built outdoor amenities, including seating, shade/shelter, play area, signage, fences and gateways for migrant farm workers temporary housing. 2000-2001
  • Children’s Gateway, Issaquah, Washington—designed and coordinated artists and volunteers building an outdoor classroom and a sculptural gateway to a school playground; 1998
  • Salishan Gathering Place, Tacoma, Washington—designed and coordinated volunteers building an amphitheater and shelter adjacent to the community garden in a housing development, built with community volunteers; 1997-99
  • Ashland Circle, Issaquah Highlands, Issaquah, Washington—designed an amphitheater, tot-lot, and play area at the center of a new neighborhood; 1997-98
  • Pickering Place Public Park, Issaquah, Washington—collaborated with James Hubbell in designing a 400 foot long urban park consisting of an amphitheater, a bridge spanning a constructed wetland, and a plaza; 1994


Public Art

  • Two Views, Pro-Parks public art installation, Seattle, WA—designed a 40-foot land dock and a viewing circle intended to increase visitors’ appreciation of two very different aspects (the natural and the built) of Westcrest Park in West Seattle, 2008
  • Fibonacci Twist, Issaquah, WA—designed a wind-generated light rope spiraling around a 45’ high cellular phone antenna to artistically enhance an eyesore, 2006
  • Overlake Transit-Oriented Development, Redmond, Washington—designed identity elements for a 300-unit affordable housing complex that integrates housing with park-and-ride facilities, 2001-2003
  • Clouds, Rain, Sun, Issaquah, WA—designed art for a 165’ X 25’ concrete water reservoir, 2002
  • Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail gateways, West Seattle, Washington—collaborated with artist Paul Sorey in designing a prototype of a gateway inviting people to explore the trail, 2001


International Work

2015:  Invited by mayor of Christchurch, New Zealand for three weeks of training, speaking engagements and consulting in Aukland and Christchurch. Empowered to take action creating resilient, transparent communities in which collaborative practices promote deep listening and community-driven design.

Collaborated with James Hubbell in leading architecture students from Russia, Mexico, China and US in creating artistic gathering spaces promoting cross-cultural collaboration and understanding around the Pacific Rim:

  • Tijuana, Mexico in 2004
  • Yantai, China in 2002
  • San Diego, US in 2000
  • Vladivostok, Russia in 1994
  • Tecate, Mexico in 1991



Selected Consulting, Participatory Planning and Public Facilitation Projects

  • King County Parks and Recreation, Seattle, WA, 2015
  • Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity, The Woods at Golden Given, Tacoma, WA, 2015
  • Three Cedars Waldorf School, Bellevue, WA, 2015
  • Oregon Community Foundation, Sisters, OR, 2015
  • East Hill Revitalization Plan, Kent, WA – developing community-owned goals for the future, 2012
  • Riverton Heights Park Plan,SeaTac, WA—involving community in reclaiming a decommissioned school site, 2010
  • Sunset Elementary School Park, Shoreline, WA—involving community in developing a plan for a decommissioned school site, 2009
  • Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada, 2007-08
  • Skyway Park, Tukwila, WA—involving community in reimagining a 23 acre park, 2007-08
  • South Park Gathering Place, Seattle, WA—developing a design for a community space, 2007-08
  • Issaquah Highlands Town Center, Issaquah, WA—arts plan for a 14 acre town center, 2007-08
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Trails Plan, City of Burien, Washington, 2003-04
  • Town Square Plan, City of Burien, Washington, 2002
  • Creative City, Ottawa, Canada—one day symposium on the role of the arts and creativity in shaping the city, 2002
  • U.S. Department of Energy and APEC, convened an interdisciplinary planning process for a model rural sustainable village, China, 1999-2000
  • U.S. Department of Energy, facilitated a goal-setting session to identify design options for the future in the wake of persistent floods, West Virginia, 1998
  • Washington State Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development, facilitated strategic planning meetings for the statewide housing program, 1998, 2002, 2007
  • U.S. Department of Energy, American Institute of Architects, led goal-setting sessions to identify environmental and cultural priorities for a new town design, Missouri, 1994
  • Chattanooga Venture, Tennessee, coordinated city-wide forums resulting in greater commitment to a sustainable future, 1991-93
  • City of Issaquah, WA, designed and conducted a public involvement processes and educational programs, 1992-93


Selected Presentations

  • Americans for the Arts Public Art and Placemaking Panel, Chicago, IL, 2015
  • American Planning Association Panel, Seattle, WA, 2015
  • Authentic Communities Summit, keynote, Asheville, NC, 2015
  • Aukland Conversations, Aukland, New Zealand, 2015
  • Issaquah Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Banquet, Issaquah, WA, 2014
  • Leadership Tomorrow Conversations with Leaders, Seattle, WA, 2014
  • Washington State Student Services Commission, Champions of Hope Conference, keynote Tacoma, WA, 2014
  • Planning Association of Washington, Lynwood, WA, 2014
  • Art of Community Building Conference, Davis, CA, keynote, 2014
  • Philanthropy Northwest, Walla Walla, WA, keynote, 2012
  • Building Sustainable Communities, Kelowna, British Columbia, keynote, 2012
  • 2012 Alaska Arts & Culture Conference, keynote, 2012
  • Pop!Tech 2011, The World Rebalancing conference, Camden, Maine, 2011
  • National Association for State Community Service Programs annual conference, keynote, Seattle, 2011
  • What is Economy For, Washington DC, 2007
  • Interdependence Day International Conference, Mexico City, 2007
  • Association of Washington Cities, 2007
  • Community Built Association, 2008, 2006
  • 2005 Community Involvement Conference and Training, U.S.EPA conference, Buffalo, NY, 2005
  • Downtown Revitalization Training Institute, Washington State, 2005
  • Praxis Series, Department of Architecture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2005
  • Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letter, Madison, WI, 2004
  • Lulu Series, Richmond, BC, Canada, 2003
  • Main Street Conference, Toronto, Canada, 2003
  • Yearly presentations to landscape architecture students, University of Washington, Seattle; faculty member for the Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellows


Curriculum development

  • Pomegranate Center Fellows Training—multi-day training to create collaborative, socially engaged leaders who will push the boundaries of their disciplines to benefit entire communities.
  • Courageous Collaboration: Building & Shaping Resilient Communities & Partnerships—workshop developed for Non-Profit Staff Development Coalition focusing on building community, partnerships and creative alliances.
  • Community Treasures—students interview community members to identify important community identity elements, research the top ones, and create exhibit to educate others about their findings
  • Family Stories Quilt—collaborated with storyteller Kathi Lightstone and teacher Jeannine Rogel instructing students in interviewing family members to discover real stories when something extraordinary happened in their lives, then write, memorize and perform one story at a community celebration
  • Project Trash-Hold—students are carry with them the trash they are responsible for generating and learn about what they can do to diminish their contribution to the waste stream
  • Hands on Civics—students work in teams to design models of their ideal communities, formulate the reasons for their decisions, and present their work to community leaders.


Selected Writing

  • Multiple Victories, Pomegranate Center Press, 2007
  • Meandering Rivers and Square Tomatoes, Morningtown Press, Issaquah, Washington, 1988.
  • Lightworks–Explorations in Art, Culture, and Creativity, Lorian Press, Issaquah, Washington, 1985.
  • Numerous articles


Selected publications about Milenko and Pomegranate Center

  • The Green Bloc, Maja Fowkes, 2015
  • The Town Square Reinvented, Sonia Krishnan, The Seattle Times, June 17, 2012
  • The OHO files: interview with Milenko Matanovic, ArtMargins Online, 2011
  • Between Grace and Fear—The Role of the Arts in a Time of Change, William Cleveland and Patricia Shifferd, Chapter 29: interview with Milenko Matanovic, Common Ground Publishing, 2010
  • Miracle Milenko, Grist Magazine interview, 8/2005
  • Pomegranate Center uses art to better everyday living, by Jennifer Langston, Seattle Post Intelligencer, 12/29/2004
  • Details make the difference, by Ross Atkin, The Christina Science Monitor, 11/28/2001
  • Pomegranate plants seeds for community living, by Glenn Pascall, Puget Sound Business Journal, 5/19-25/2000
  • Consultant creates artful communities, by Douglas McLennan, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/12/1998
  • Issaquah’s man of vision sets his sights on Seattle, by Mindy Cameron, The Seattle Times, 7/5/1998
  • The case for sustainable development, by William Becker, APA Magazine, 1994
  • An Interview with Milenko Matanovic, by Greg Powell, Humanities Today, 1991
  • New Perceptions of Reality in Art and Science, Dialogue between Fritjof Capra and Milenko Matanovic, The Elmwood Newsletter, Winter 1988
  • OHO 1966-1971, book by Tomaz Brejc, Ljubljana 1978
  • The Dematerialization of the Art Object, Lucy Lippard 1971



  • 2012 Leadership Eastside Vision Award
  • The State of Washington Governor’s 2009 and 2011 Smart Communities Award
  • 2009 Evergreen Award to Pomegranate Center– Executive Alliance for groundbreaking work in partnerships and collaboration on the Edith-Carrie Gathering Place project, Washington state, 2009
  • Leadership Legacy Award – Center for Ethical Leadership, Seattle, 2009
  • Shelter Award—HOME magazine/Bank of America ‘Local Heroes’ award, New York, 2005
  • Evergreen State Society Leadership Award—Washington state, 1997
  • Honorary professor—Vladivostok Polytechnic University, 1994
  • Parents Choice Award—for producing a musical album for children, 1988
  • Selected as one of top 50 future leaders in Wisconsin, 1982
  • As a member of group OHO represented Yugoslavia in international art exhibits in France, Germany, Italy, United States, and Argentina. 


Selected Exhibits

  • Ends of the Earth, Land art to 1974, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2012
  • 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2011
  • OHO after OHO, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia, 2010
  • Living Art On the Edge of Europe, Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo. Holland, 2006
  • Gallery of Modern Art, retrospective exhibit of group OHO, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1994
  • Views – recent watercolors – Issaquah, WA 1992
  • 7th Biennale of Young Artists, Paris, France, 1971
  • Aktionsraum, Munich, West Germany, 1970
  • Galleria Techne, Firenze, Italy, 1970
  • Museum of Modern Art, Information Show, New York City, New York, USA, 1970
  • Gallery of Modern Art, Zagreb, Croatia, 1969
  • Gallery of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1968
  • Milenko’s works are a part of several permanent museum collections