Philadelphia is the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Reading Terminal Market, and National Constitution Center. Philadelphia is all about the Love Statue, Rocky Steps, Cheesesteaks, and Tastykakes.

Philadelphia also is a thriving and broad arts scene.  A must visit for the arts scene is the Philadelphia Magic Gardens.

Isaiah Zagar

To experience these “gardens” it is helpful to know the story behind the artist: Isaiah Zagar. Mr. Zagar, primarily a mosaic artist, cared about his neighborhood and the streetscape.  He beautified abandoned and blighted city lots with mosaic art made from objects others disposed of.

From the Philadelphia Magic Gardens website:

“In 1994, Zagar started working on the vacant lots located near his studio … He … 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. After a two year legal battle…”

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Walking around this art-space makes me feel optimistic.  Looking broadly through the “garden” is realizing how funky this place is.  Looking closely shows how someones garbage – their landfill items – can turn into an aesthetically pleasing structure.  That is optimism.  Zero waste.


Art Space

Philadelphia Magic Garden has a great display space for artwork.

One that really caught my eye (and head) is called Heads on a Platter.

Philadelphia Magic Garden display 1

It is made from Phoenix foundry form, instrument parts, chair legs, disc, rubber, nails, cloth, clay, and paint.

Another wild piece:

Philadelphia Magic Garden display 2

If you are in Philly, head on over to South Street and visit the Philadelphia Magic Garden. You might consider buying tickets ahead of time as they do sell out on pretty much every nice day in season.