(Photo by Celisa Hopkins)

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Visionary and 20th century inventor R. Buckminster Fuller said, “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” Without prior knowledge of caterpillars and butterflies, who would know a smooth, undulating leaf crawler holds within itself the blueprint and capacity to transform into a glorious, winged flyer?

In the case of the monarch, the caterpillar’s story is even more remarkable when, as a butterfly, it migrates annually south for the winter and north for the spring and summer.

The Yakima Symphony Orchestra is preparing for its next concert in the “Musical Voyage Around the World” season on Feb. 3: “South of the Border,” an energetic and colorful program featuring music from Mexico, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. It does so with a nod to the monarch butterfly, the ultimate voyager, in a collaboration with the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy, Yakima-Morelia Sister City Association and other friends, in “The Voyage of the Monarch,” a series of events and activities celebrating the annual voyages of the monarch butterfly.

First up is an art exhibit from January through March at Essencia Artisan Bakery in downtown Yakima, where 26 artists are displaying 35 pieces of “Voyage of the Monarch”-inspired artwork through watercolor, oil, acrylic, batik, fiber art, glass and copper foil, ink, photography and mixed media.

Following this will be a free monarch butterfly-themed children’s art-making event led by artist Christie Tirado on at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Jan. 20 at the Yakima downtown library. The library also will feature a monarch-themed story time at 2 p.m., and butterfly activities throughout the day until 3 p.m.

From the blueprint of a simple orchestra concert, these forays into the visual arts are but one part of the remarkable “butterfly” that will take flight as “South of the Border.” Keep an eye on this space to see what emerges next!

This column was written by Yakima Symphony Orchestra staff. Learn more at

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