Thursday, August 24, 2017

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

[Most other mosaic work I've seen] might tell a story, but it’s a story that you already knew. Isaiah’s work tells you a story you didn’t know.
~Rick Snyderman

I heard about Philadelphia's Magic Gardens from my son, who saw them last week and thought they were fantastic.

From the PMG site:
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is a nonprofit art museum and gallery space located in Isaiah Zagar’s visionary art environment at 1020 South Street.

Spanning half a block, the museum includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries. Zagar created the space using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The site is enveloped in visual anecdotes and personal narratives that refer to Zagar’s life, family, and community, as well as references from the wider world such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments...

Zagar has devoted himself to beautifying the South Street neighborhood since the late 1960s, when he moved to the area with his wife, Julia. The couple helped spur the revitalization of the area by renovating derelict buildings and adding colorful mosaics on both private and public walls...

In 1994, Zagar started working on the vacant lots located near his studio at 1020 South Street. He first constructed a massive fence to protect the area then spent years sculpting multi-layer walls out of found objects. In 2002, the Boston-based owner of the lots discovered Zagar’s installation and decided to sell the land, calling for the work to be dismantled. Unwilling to witness the destruction of the now-beloved neighborhood art environment, the community rushed to support the artist.
Have a look:

Philadelphia Magic Gardens
photo by angela n.

Magic in Mosaic
photo by Vandan Desai

magic garden uplook
photo by schizoform

Philadelphia Magic Gardens
photo by angela n.

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
photo by Alison

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
photo by Peter Miller

Magic Garden
photo by Thom Watson


Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

How I wish I knew about this when we were last in the area! Something for my "would love to see one day" list.

HWY said...

Wonderful! And this would also count as a "memoir" wouldn't it?

The community support for it is very inspiring, too.