Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park

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Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park
Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park.jpg
Park entrance
Established 1998
Location Thurston County, Washington
Type Sculpture garden & art gallery
Director Myrna Orsini
Website Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park

Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park is an outdoor art gallery located along the Chehalis Western Trail[1] near Tenino, in Olympia, Washington.[2] Opened in 1998 by sculptor Myrna Orsini as "a gift to the community,"[3] the 80-acre (32 ha) park features sculpture gardens as well as indoor art galleries.[4]

Sculpture Park exhibition in 2015

In 1992, after visiting art symposia in Europe, founder Myrna Orsini and her business partner Doris Coonrod purchased land for the park.[3][5] In 1998, the park opened with a rock-carving symposium, which was attended by 13 artists who came from nine countries, including Lithuania, Austria, Cuba, Italy, and Canada; each artist donated a piece to the park's collection.[5] By 2009, Monarch had established a permanent collection of 28 works, many of which were donated by their creators, and also featured 87 other works on consignment.[3] The park exhibits the work of artists from around the world.[6] Local contributors include Valentine Welman,[7] Justin Hahn, and Tom Yody, and owner Myrna Orsini herself; international artists such as Urs Twellmann and Doug Neil have also displayed their work at the park.[3]

In the past the park hosted workshops and classes promoting art creation. It also hosted open houses called "Art in the Park," which are biennial exhibitions where local artists display and sell their work;[8] these events feature live music, dancing, and art.[2][7] There are several distinct areas within the park, including a fantasy garden, a butterfly garden, a maze, and an interactive sound-sculpture area, set in the partially forested countryside.[9] The park also has hosted visiting artists like Pat Warner.[3][10]

In the summer of 2011, the nonprofit park was set to close due to health and financial concerns, and the property was placed for sale.[5] In July 2011, the month the park would close, a group including the Woodland Trail Greenway Association and civic leaders stepped in to help keep the park open, providing temporary funding for the park's liability insurance and arranging volunteers to manage the landscaping, while looking for a permanent solution for the park's maintenance.[11][12]

Creekside Conservancy (formerly Heernett)is now in the process of acquiring the park. Until the sale is completed, the park will be closed to the public. One condition for reopening the park is that a Special Land Use Permit be purchased. This is costly. If you feel that the park is a unique cultural asset to the community, please help secure this permit by sending a donation to: Monarch at POBox 1125 Tenino, Wa. 98589 or to paypal at:


  1. ^ Thorness, Bill. Biking Puget Sound: 50 Rides from Olympia to the San Juans. The Mountaineers Books, 2007: Page 243. Accessed on July 24, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Wander 80 Acres of Art." The Olympian, August 13, 2010. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ponnekanti, Rosemary. "Monarch Still Reigns." The News Tribune, printed by The Olympian, September 13, 2009. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  4. ^ "Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park." Monarch Art Center. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Hughes, Lee. "Popular Monarch Sculpture Park in Tenino will close next month." The News Tribune, June 27, 2011. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  6. ^ Graves, Keven, et al. "Sculpture park open year-round." Nisqually Valley News: Destination Rainier, 2011: Page 28. Accessed on July 24, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Sunday, Aug. 15: Art In The Park." Weekly Volcano, August 11, 2010. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "Looking Ahead." The News Tribune, August 20, 2000. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  9. ^ Dunnewind, Stephanie. "Capitol Ideas For the Kids." The Seattle Times, July 22, 2006. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Clayton, Alec. "Visiting artists draw on ancient cultures to create new works." The Olympian, June 22, 2001. Accessed on July 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Siemon, Dean. "Sculpture park gets reprieve from closure." Nisqually Valley News, July 15, 2011. Accessed on July 24, 2011.
  12. ^ Ponnekanti, Rosemary. "Monarch Sculpture Park in Tenino to remain open." The News Tribune, July 12, 2011. Accessed on July 24, 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°53′10″N 122°44′42″W / 46.88611°N 122.74500°W / 46.88611; -122.74500