Building Communities workshops

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Milenko MatanovicWith 27 years of experience in growing communities and creating gathering spaces, Milenko Matanovic has a mission: To make better communities by involving people in shaping their physical environment using the arts.

Originally Milenko was an artist with a strong belief in bringing art to the street to enhance every-day life.  He realised that the combination of art, creative thinking and community weaves a certain magic and brings communities together.  This was the spur for Milenko to found the non-profit Pomegranate Center in Washington State.

The Pomegranate Center brings people together to build better communities.  Their work is based on core values of place, collective creativity, and multiple victories where the best ideas solve more than one problem at the same time.

Milenko and the Pomegranate Center have developed some very successful ways of helping communities help themselves by working together and uncovering new ways to push good ideas about public gathering spaces into reality. 

Their Fellows training programme is designed to inspire city staff, design professionals and grassroots leaders - anyone with an interest in community building.  It  presents an alternative community planning process that is transparent and integrated, breaking every detail into simple, accessible, practical explanations and applications. Teamwork and collaboration are essential ingredients of the Pomegranate Process - the process is richer for wider participation across the community.

These processes work with communities throughout from concept to design, construction and delivery. They both draw on and grow local skills and social/community capital and they result in great public gathering places


Engage with Milenko

Milenko’s visit offers three ways to engage with him:

  1. There are two Fellows workshops to train in community building -  send individual staff members at a cost of 575 (or $345 for non-profit organisations).  Spaces are limited. 
  2. Invite Milenko to work with your organisation on a particular community project in your area.  $2,000 for a half day or $3, 500 for a full day
  3. Sponsor part of Milenko’s visit and organise the combination of activities that suit your needs.


Pomegranate Center projects

Milenko’s approach has seen the Pomegranate Center work with hundreds of communities across the country and abroad, collaborating with communities to build more than 40 gathering places, and training hundreds of remarkable individuals in the Pomegranate Center model of community building.Alberta gathering place, Alabama

As an example, this amphitheatre in Tuscaloosa Alabama built from debris from a tornado which cut through the heart of the city.  A year later, the city was still working to clean and rebuild in the wake of the storm. Using the debris from the tornado, Pomegranate Center helped rally the community to design and build a gathering place that bring neighbours from all walks of life together.

High Point market garden SeattleIn Seattle Pomegranate Center worked with residents of the High Point public-housing development to design an amphitheatre, pocket parks, shelters, and a community garden enclosed by a resident hand-painted and carved fence. This community has a large number of migrants, refugees and people transitioning from homelessness and the garden offers a place of connection with one another, a place to grow familiar food and a way to earn money.  Each community member brought his or her particular skills to its creation while a common vision generated community pride and stewardship.

Read more about Pomegranate projects:


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