essay about authorbibliographyartist's influences
Ex Yugoslavia

Milenko Matanovic was born in 1947, in Ljubljana. He studied history of art at the University of Ljubljana. Matanovic was an OHO member from the group's beginnings. He wrote concrete and visual poetry (published in the miscellanies Catalogue, Pericarežeracirep and Catalogue 2) and was also a collaborator of the OHO Edition. He was involved in the visual arts, initially creating paintings and objects for which he partly used industrial materials, such as foam rubber or used egg cases. Later on he produced "poor" objects and installations, made of hemp, wood, foam rubber, scrap iron and the like. During the OHO "Summer Projects" he produced works dealing with balance, tension, etc. In the late OHO period he produced several conceptual projects. He was also engaged in film making, happenings, music, etc. In 1971 he left for Šempas with the other members of OHO. A year afterwards he went to Scotland and subsequently to the U.S.A. He now lives in Issaquah, Washington.

  Milenko Matanovic is a community builder and a visual artist with an international reputation and a professional career of over 40 years.  He founded Pomegranate Center in 1986 to create an arena in which art, public participation and community betterment converge.  The non-profit Pomegranate Center facilitates the conception and construction of open-air gathering places, and integrates art into architecture, landscape and communities.  His work at Pomegranate Center has brought people and communities together to create and identify cultural, environmental, and social priorities in community development.  Milenko is a popular public speaker and has made presentations at numerous events and conferences throughout the USA and Canada. He is an author of three books.  He was honored for his work linking community betterment and design with the 2009 Ethical Leadership Award, 2005 national Home Shelter Award and a 1997 Evergreen State Leadership Award in Washington State.  Pomegranate Center received Seattle’s City Club’s The 2008 Community Matters Campaign-People’s Choice Award and 2009 Executive Alliance’s Evergreen Award for groundbreaking work in collaboration and partnership.    


 1987-2010 Founder/Executive Director of the Pomegranate Center, a non-profit organization facilitating public involvement and the design of community gathering places.

1970-1986 Freelance artist, musician, lecturer

1978-1980 Ad-hoc instructor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

1972-1973 Arts and Education Coordinator, Findhorn College, Scotland

1968-1972 Founding member of group OHO, a multi-disciplinary art cooperative

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

Selected Community Gathering Places design

  • Skyway Park Community Vision, Seattle, WA — developed a comprehensive park plan to reflect the community’s image of an improved Skyway Park, King County Parks and Recreations, 2007

  • 12th and Trenton Open Space, Seattle, WA — facilitated community planning and developed initial designs for a misused open space in South Park, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Mayor’s Office, 2007-2008

  • 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 Poin Development, Seattle, WA—designed community garden enhancements, pocket parks, kiosks and artistic trash receptacles; client: Seattle Housing Authority, 2003-06

  • Benson East, Kent, WA— designed and built a round-wood shelter, entryway sign and street lights, 2005

  • Civic Plaza, Kent, WA—created a design to transform a plaza adjacent to the City Hall into a gathering place, 2004

  • 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 making a school playground accessible to the neighborhood; 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

    • Hollow : City, 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

    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 1992.


    • 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


  • 2009 Evergreen Award – 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.