Philadelphia Magic Gardens, a house of urban mosaic art, is an exhilarating experience. It’s a quirky little space creating a separate world of its own where the visitors, artists and art aficionados can witness the creativity of a dedicated mosaic artist. It was founded by Mosaic Artist Isaiah Zagar in South street to restore and preserve the heritage and culture of the community.
Every single installation in the magic garden is a work of art. All the walls and available spaces are decorated with morals. The two indoor galleries exhibit paintings and other artworks by Isaiah. In addition, you can see many artworks and installation in and around the building creating a vibrant atmosphere.
When I decided to visit Pennsylvania, Philly Magic Gardens was on top of my places to visit in Philadelphia list. I read a lot about Isaiah and his urban art, therefore, I was keen to check out the place personally. And I am glad I did it.
A Brief History of Philadelphia Magic Gardens
It is the creation of Philadelphia Mosaic Artist Isaiah Zagar in Southern street of Philadelphia. The place is a wonderful work of his artisanship and vivid imagination. it has an art gallery, museum and 3D art installations covered with unassuming interpretations of artists’ creativity.
In 1968, Isaiah moved to the south street with his wife Julia. The structure where the garden stands were about to be demolished to make a place for a cross country expressway. The couple moved in the area to restore the culture and heritage of the community. Thereafter, they purchased and leased several other surrounding buildings and structures where they showcased the Latin- American art.
Isaiah has completed over 200 mosaic murals mainly funded by the community or businesses. Artists and students are encouraged to assist him with the artwork and learn mosaic art. A lot of people visit Philadelphia to attend the events and workshops organized at Magic Gardens
Things to do at Philadelphia Magic Garden
1. Self-guided tour– You can collect brochures from the front desk and walk through the museum. The area is not huge and it won’t take more than 15 minutes to cover it all unless you want to check and admire each artwork. In short, it totally depends on your travel plans and inclinations to arty things.
2. Guided Tours: Guided tours are available for individuals and groups. You will have to book one in advance.
3. Wedding and engagement Venue: If you are up for a quirky venue for your wedding or engagement, Philadelphia Magic Garden is the right place for you. Likewise, the backdrop is perfect for photoshoots.
4. Take 100s of photos: Dah! bet you will.
How much time to spend in Philadelphia’s Magic Garden?
Depending on your interest in history, culture, and art, one can spend as little as an hour or several hours in Magic Gardens. I was totally awed as soon as I stepped into Isaiah’s world. Hence spent a good 3 hours in the magic gardens. There was something unique and compelling about the place that you are glued for a long time.
My suggestion, take time to study and admire the art. It’s so inspiring and soothing even for someone who is not directly related to arts. You will marvel at the sheer vision and dedication of a single person on who he spent his life to create, preserve and restore the art.
However, if you are traveling with kids, as I did, it is better to bring something to keep them engaged. For instance, the gallery provides coloring sheets and crayons to kids which will keep them busy for some time. But there is not much for the kids to do or see at this place. After a while, I handed them to read kids’ books with some snacks while I was capturing the beauty of the place through my lens. Also, be noted that it has lots of nudity and sexual content which might not be appropriate for the kids. Not all the parents will be comfortable with the situation, therefore, you must plan a trip accordingly.
YAY OR NAY?
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a must-visit place for everyone because it showcases the culture, art, and life of the local community. It is a reflection of an artist’s soul and love for his community. I would certainly love to go back and see the art through a whole new perspective!