Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Screw an Easter egg hunt; I’m looking for Monkeyshines glass!

Here is one of the (many) reasons I have grown to love Tacoma over the last few years: Monkeyshines. They are a group of anonymous glass artists who gift the city with art once a year around the time of the Chinese New Year. For the last seven years they have distributed glass orbs and/or glass medallions emblazed with the corresponding animal from the Chinese zodiac.  It is basically like a giant city wide game of hide-and-seek or an Easter egg hunt, except that it is way cooler to find hand-blown glass than a person or a hardboiled egg.

Although the Chinese New Year is still a few days away, the hunt is already in full swing. The first gifts were found Tuesday morning.  This is the year of the tiger. The folks over at Exit133 found this pretty ball along with these 2 medallions downtown.
After seeing their blog post when I got home from work yesterday it took me all of 30 minutes to convince Bill to put on his shoes and coat and come search with me. We decided to check out the Evergreen Extension Campus nearby; after all, we figured there were reports of finding orbs at UWT and UPS already, so surely there has to be one somewhere at Evergreen! Alas, our search was unfruitful (but, of course, still fun).  We also got up extra early for work this morning to go search several parks within walking distance…. still no luck. They could be anywhere, which is part of the fun and part of the frustration. I dreamt last night that everywhere I looked I found one, but being the civically minded person I am (or at least like to think I am) I only took one orb and re-hid the others. Okay, I lied. In my dream I actually took one orb and one medallion, but even my dream self was able to reason that the medallion was to keep in my classroom.
We are going to try searching again tomorrow morning. Hopefully we will spot one, but even if we don’t we will still fun.
We both have Friday off so we will be able to go on a big search (when it is actually light out, what a novel concept). However, I have no idea if we are too late in the game to even have a slight chance of finding the gifted art. The whole production is quite mysterious. At this point no one knows for sure how many pieces are out there, or even if they have all been delivered! The first year they distributed 200 balls, but last year there were 600. Also, when they first started they were hidden on the eve of the Chinese New Year, but in the years following people started going out in anticipation and cherry picking the art before the city had a chance to discover and enjoy the fun., therefore they started varying the night of delivery. This year there is even speculation that they are only delivering small batches each night to extend the fun and give people more chance to search.

I talked to my students about Monkeyshines today and they became all aflutter. For the rest of the day they kept reporting that they had spotted a medallion off of school grounds (although all the sightings were false, just pop cans or other shiny bits of litter). I hope that some of them were able to get their parents in on the fun and get outside and searching.  We decided as a class that Monkeyshines exist to have fun, make Tacoma a better place, and create a community experience. 

Wish me luck. I would love nothing more than to create a post tomorrow (or the next day, or the day after that) showing off my Monkeyshines gift!


  1. I believe in you, Lacey Undperants! Seriously, that is such a cool tradition. Between the Monkeyshines and the Greek fries, I'm starting to think Tacoma isn't such a stinky place after all!

  2. Sigh, sadly we have not found any... Maybe next year!