philadelphia’s magic gardens: indoor galleries

Friday, December 30:  After walking the southern half of the Mural Arts Walk, we head to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.  As we walk down South Street, we pass a number of the artist’s murals on buildings and in alleys.

Public Zagar Mural near Magic Gardens
Zagar Mural near Magic Gardens
Detail of Zagar Mural

We find another mural with some religious verses adjacent to a small parking lot.

Someone’s house is even decked out in mosaics.

on the way to Magic Gardens

The museum, spanning half a block on South Street, includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries.  As it’s the middle of winter, we first walk around the indoor galleries.

Indoor galleries – Magic Gardens

The artist, Isaiah Zagar, is an award-winning mosaic mural artist whose work can be found in over 200 public walls throughout Philadelphia and around the world, according to a museum pamphlet.

Indoor galleries – Magic Gardens

Zagar was born in Philadelphia and raised in Brooklyn; he received a B.F.A. in Painting and Graphics at the Pratt Institute of Art in New York City.  The artist and his wife Julia settled in Philadelphia after serving 3 years in Peru with the Peace Corps.  Zagar’s work is influenced by his travels as well as his interactions with international folk and visionary artists, says the pamphlet.

Indoor galleries – Magic Gardens

Zagar created the space at Magic Gardens using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors.

Indoor galleries – Magic Gardens

Visual anecdotes and personal narratives refer to Zagar’s life, family and community, as well as to the wider world, such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments.

Indoor galleries – Magic Gardens

This place is a photographer’s paradise.  Every surface is covered with mosaics and found objects, including the ceilings, stairs and bathrooms.

Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries

We walk outdoors into a small enclosed patio, but then are led right back into the indoor galleries.

a small outdoor patio in the midst of the indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries

We could spend hours and hours here marveling at all the details.

Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor gallery ceiling
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries
Magic Gardens – indoor galleries

We brace ourselves to go the outdoor art installation.  Luckily the area is enclosed and it doesn’t feel that cold outside.  I hear it’s super crowded in summer, so I think it’s best we came at this time of year.  The outdoor installation will follow in another post. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “philadelphia’s magic gardens: indoor galleries

  1. Wow these murals are just amazing and your photographs of the details are fabulous! Thanks for taking us on this mind blowing tour! What a stimulating environment. Reminds me a bit of Gaudi Park in Barcelona!
    The Zagar mural is my favorite!
    Peta

  2. This is astonishing work, but I think I like the outdoor mosaics better than the indoor works. Shall see what you show us next…it must have taken you ages to photograph all of these!!

    1. It did take forever to photograph these, and then to edit them later! That’s why it’s taken me so long. I just posted the outdoor installation. I have a goal to finish all my blog posts before I leave for Japan (I don’t have many since I haven’t done much except work). 🙂

      1. It’s the selecting and then editing of the photos that take me the most time. I am being better about not taking too many photos in the first instance, that helps, but I am still not ruthless enough at deleting the duplicates.

      2. I’m the same, Jude. I’m terrible about taking too many photos, and equally terrible about culling them down. It’s hard to part with pictures because they usually show something that caught your eye for some reason, and you want to hang on to that moment. 🙂

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