A Must-Stop at Philly’s Magic Gardens
I finally made it to Isaiah Zagar’s monumental mosaic masterpiece, the Magic Gardens, on my latest visit to Philadelphia two weeks ago. Spanning half a block on South Street (between 10th and 11th Streets), Zagar started working on these vacant lots in 1994. Using folk art, found objects like bicycle tires, colorful glass bottles, and thousands of handmade tiles and glittering mirrors, Zagar created one of the most unique public artworks in America. Stroll in and out of the stairwells looking at the dramatic colors, reflections, and figurative works. You’ll be thankful that the neighborhood stood up for Zagar and his work once the landlord of the property found out what he had done and wanted to dismantle the massive sculpture in 2002. The nonprofit is now used for mosaic workshops, community outreach, and talks with the 79-year-old artist. Magic Gardens is open to the public Wednesdays through Mondays 11 am to 6 pm; cost is $10 for adults, $8 for students.