Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Go Here: The Magic Gardens in Philadelphia

philadelphia magic gardens pics

Like most awesome things in life, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens (PMG) on South Street in downtown Philly is a labor of love. So we’re clear — this is the work of one man.

Visionary artist (a term used to describe a self-taught artist) Isaiah Zagar began the PMG project in 1994 in the vacant lot next to his studio. A walking tour of Philadelphia shows just how much of an influence Zagar has had on the city, as Zagar has been creating mosaic art to beautify his neighborhood since the 1960s when he first moved to Philly; he and his wife have purchased and renovated many abandoned buildings in the area, and they’re easy to spot by their large mosaic exterior wall art, especially when Isaiah is standing in front of it, which is likely, since he’s a man-about-town:

philadelphia magic gardens pics

Despite his prolific presence in Philly, nowhere is Isaiah’s vision easier to see than at the Magic Gardens. After building a fence around the lot to protect his work in 1994, Zagar spent the next 14 years excavating tunnels and grottos, sculpting walls, and tiling and grouting 3,000 square feet of wall space with his own handmade tiles. PMG includes references to his own life, his artistic and musical influences, the history of Philadelphia, Mexican folklore, and current events such as the 9/11 tragedy.

philadelphia magic gardens pics

Now complete and spanning half a city block, the PMG includes both an indoor installation and outdoor sculpture garden, and serves as a community gallery and arts center. This is not your typical, neatly-arranged mosaic, though; the installation includes folk art statues, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, Zagar’s hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors.

When we visited, we met Isaiah, and because we’re weirdos we later sent him a letter, expressing our devotion and telling him that we wished we could have taken a piece of his mosaic with us when we left. He wrote back within a week, and sent us a piece of broken plate from the wall.

philadelphia magic gardens pics

PMG is a non-profit community organization that is open daily to visitors and hosts low-cost public programs geared towards inspiring creativity and engaging the community about folk art, mosaic, and the visionary artist movement.

Though nothing can compare to seeing this incredible place up close, this video tour will give you a sneak peek of what’s in store when you do make the trip:

Subscribe to KEAN 105 on

Next Awesome Place: Foamhenge

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KEAN A-List quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KEAN A-List contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.