In December I went to Philadelphia for a girls’ weekend and had a great time exploring South Street’s art scene and we visited one of the coolest places I’ve ever been – the Philly Magic Gardens– full of art, color and, true to its name– MAGIC. The colors celebrate life, diversity and art. It shows that a variety of color is better than one color, much like society.
Philly Magic Gardens is a project by artist Isaiah Zagar, who spent 14 years building the mosaics that today form part of the Magic Gardens. Interestingly enough, the project wasn’t intended on being a public space, Mr. Zagar simply started created mosaics in an empty lot. When the lot owner tried to reclaim the lot and decided he was going to tear down the mosaics, the community came together to save it, and Philly Magic Gardens was born, in the form of a nonprofit organization.
Mr. Zagar uses materials like bottles, bike tires, ceramics… some of the materials have been added in full size, some of the pieces are broken — but they are all beautiful. The gardens show that beauty doesn’t always (and rarely ever is) perfect. There is beauty even in the broken pieces. What makes Mr. Zagar’s art beautiful is that he puts together things in random ways and it becomes a thing of beauty.
Mr. Zagar is also credited with the renaissance of South Street in Philly, which has become a popular destination for artists. His mosaics are found in random parts of Philadelphia, like a wonderful breath of fresh air that just pops up when you turn the corner. Check out this awesome house front:
I was pleasantly surprised to discover this at the Magic Gardens, and I even asked Mr. Zagar about it:
Mr. Zagar visited Ecuador for a summer, and loved it so much he decided to include it in his art. (and he answered me via Instagram!)
This is definitely a place you will want to visit when in Philly. Also, be on the look out for the murals all over the city!
The Philly Magic Gardens are also a great place for kids! The space is set up partly like a maze, so kids will have fun walking around the different tunnels, and looking the colorful sections. They also have children’s programming “PECO Family Jams” every second Sunday of the month between NOON and 4:00 PM. They also have art workshops and free kid-friendly tours at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm on those days.
To find out more information on Philly Magic Gardens, click here.
To find out more info about visiting Philly visit here.