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Monkeyshines 2012 - The Year of the Dragon
UPDATE With Chinese New Year upon us, this is very obviously the story you want to read right now. Comments are rolling in and a lot of people are reading. Post your stories and, once someone finds that first Monkeyshines, we want to hear about it. Post your images online or send them to us at tips (at) exit133.com and we’ll put it in your comment.
One particularly nice dragon specimen found by a lucky reader
As Chinese New Year approaches we start to get this twitch. We look in newspaper boxes, behind bushes, and in planters. We start to notice all the shiny litter hidden in the nooks of buildings. In spite of the cold and rain (and snow), we walk through the city at night hoping to catch a glimpse of our first glass ball of the year. It’s like a city-wide Easter egg hunt, and it’s not just for kids.
Why? Why now? Dan said it so well in our story last year:
Every year since the year of the Monkey, an anonymous team has conspired to create hundreds of these glass balls and then carefully hide them all over the city. This unique art event has attracted a a slew of devotees, drawn by the beauty of the glass art and the thrill of the treasure hunt. When the first Monkeyshines ball or medallion is found, the news travels quickly. Social networks suddenly spring to life, teeming with the happy declarations and discovery tips of a community drawn together by glass art.
The shadowy Monkeyshines operation is tight-lipped. No one is told when the artworks will be hidden. No one is told where. The artists explained to me that their hope is for finders to have the joy of finding and keeping one piece of art. Should serendipity lead to more, the generous spirit of Monkeyshines demands that the finder join in the secret by telling no one. Someone else will surely find it – the Monkyeshines glass hunters are persistent and numerous.
Chinese New Year is Monday January 23rd. Will it happen that night? Maybe some other night? Given the number of emails to us asking when it’ll be, we seem to think at least a few of you are getting ready too. Monkey shines doesn’t have a webpage any more than the Easter Bunny does, so we’ll have to keep waiting and watching.
Good luck to all our Monkeyshine hunting friends!
As always, post your stories in the comments.
UPDATE: PRESS RELEASE
Here’s a little more on Monkeyshines … in case you aren’t all out looking right now.
This year’s monkeyshine in its native environment.
More than 500 Hand-Blown Glass Balls Already Hidden in Tacoma for Lucky Searchers
Tacoma, WA, January 23 – For the ninth year in a row, Monkeyshines, Tacoma’s anonymous glass art project, has hidden hand-blown glass balls throughout the streets and neighborhoods of Tacoma in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Now it’s up to treasure hunters to go find them.
Monkeyshines first became a news item in 2003, when they gave away more than 200 glass balls in honor of the Chinese Year of the Monkey. Since then, they’ve hidden literally thousands of pieces of glass art each Chinese New Year. In 2010, more than 500 glass balls and glass medallions were hidden to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. And last year, the same happened for the Year of the Rabbit.
In honor of the current Year of the Dragon, this year’s balls and medallions are stamped with a dragon’s image. The pieces were created by a team of local artists, including students from the Hilltop Artists in Residence glassblowing program. The artworks were hidden throughout the city late last night by a group of bleary-eyed but enthusiastic volunteers. “It’s become part of the fabric of Tacoma,” said one participant. “It feels like its become a bigger deal each year.”
“Celebrating the Year of the Dragon with glass art is a natural,” said Miss Monkey, the project’s official, unidentified spokesperson. “Dragons are all about fire, energy and beauty. And glass floats are beautiful in a way that is so true to a waterfront community like Tacoma. They are the ultimate beachcomber’s treasure. Everyone should own at least one.”
While a few of the glass floats may actually show up on local beaches, don’t assume they’ll all be there. The artists and participants who hide the pieces try to vary the locations to keep the chance of finding one a true surprise. On previous years, the glass artworks were spotted in the branches of trees, throughout downtown, and in clever spots in many Tacoma neighborhoods. The works are meant to be gifts for whoever finds them.
In conjunction with the glass art, local poster artists Beautiful Angle created a dragon-themed poster, which will also be distributed throughout downtown Tacoma.
Monkeyshines representatives want to be clear that the glass gifts are meant to be found, taken home, and shared with friends. “This is an art project that is of, by, and for our community,” said one of the lead participants, “but please take only one. Let others have some fun, too.”
Monkeyshines is not an organization. It is a slightly-crazed art project that may or may not occur again. Keep looking in the low-growing branches of trees for more information.
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