started googling the mosaic walls in Philly to be told they were the work of
artist Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Garden. I also learnt there was a whole space
dedicated to his work, just round the corner from our apartment.
started in the 1960’s on the walls of ‘South Street’. These are the mosaics
that we were spotting, and in 1994, I’m guessing after running out of wall
space, Zagar started to create the Magic Garden on a vacant lot near his house
using the objects he was finding around him. But in 2002, when the people who
owned the land tried to sell it and wanted to tear down the garden the
community raised the funds to buy the space and turn it into a museum of his
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
We were lucky enough to pop in on a day when Zagar was there
doing a talk, so we did hear him chat for a few minutes about his work and his
artistic inspiration. But mostly we just wandered round the majestic shiny lot
that he’d created!
Doesn’t it just make you want to go out and mosaic EVERYTHING?