Pomegranate Center


Inspire and engage your audience with a compelling discussion on the power of collaboration, turning differences into gifts, the poetry of the beginning, and polyphonic communities.

Bring our inspiring founder, Milenko Matanovič, or charismatic CEO Katya Matanovič to speak at your gathering.

Milenko is an artist and community builder. Believing that magic happens when art, creative thinking, and community join forces, Milenko founded the nonprofit Pomegranate Center in 1986.

As a young man, Milenko left a successful art career as a member of the celebrated OHO Group in his native Slovenia. OHO has exhibited internationally, including the 1970 Information Show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the 2017 Biennale of Venice.

With the founding of the Pomegranate Center, he turned his creative energies toward communities— each community became a new kind of “studio” where art, collaboration, and community building converged. He has been working with cities and towns in the U.S. and abroad ever since because he believes this is the most efficient, broad-based way to improve society. Through this work he has learned how to listen to others’ ideas so that shared solutions are possible. He believes that when it comes to community, together we always know more.

Milenko has collaborated with communities to build more than 60 gathering places; spoken at more universities, community gatherings, and conferences than he can remember; and trained hundreds of remarkable individuals in the Pomegranate Center’s model of community building. He has been honored with the Home Shelter Award, Legacy Leadership Award from the Center for Ethical Leadership, among other honors.

Connecting art with community building and everyday life is just one of the ways Milenko uses his creativity to prepare communities for the future. By combining his talents as a thinker, educator and artist, Milenko hopes to create a world where neither nature nor human talents are wasted. He lives to help communities become wiser by working together to find new and creative ways to push good ideas into action.

Currently, Milenko regularly writes, teaches and speaks about community building in order to help people learn to collaborate better and be inspired to take action.

Check out Milenko’s talk at TEDx Tacoma  and his presentation at PopTech

Contact Milenko

Katya is a teacher, organizer, storyteller and strategist with a creative twist who believes both the big ideas and the smallest details need attention to make a great idea come to life. She can’t help but look at things as a cat’s cradle – a beautiful tangle of connected people and issues, questions and desires, dreams and needs.

As Pomegranate Center’s CEO, Katya get’s to be a space-maker: creating places and time and ways for people to discover their roles in shaping the future of their neighborhoods and cities, and shape the future of civic discourse. She is passionate about connecting people to where they live and helping them to create strong, livable neighborhoods that Mr. Rogers would be proud of.

As a teenager, Katya decided her life would be pretty great if it included family, friends, art, learning and service. She is lucky to have all things in her work with Pomegranate Center. (She gets to work with her dad, and she knows how rare and lucky that is.)

For nearly two decades, she has been learning how nonprofits can thrive and change lives. She worked with the Washington Women’s Foundation and the Gottman Institute, and co-founded One By One, an international women’s health organization. She is a 2014 University of Washington Women of Courage recipient and a 2010 Leadership Tomorrow graduate. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two kids.

Read more about Katya’s writing.

Contact Katya

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