Sunday, August 14, 2016

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

We arrived in the Philadelphia area on Friday evening.
A drive that should have taken us about 6 hours, wound up being nearly 9 because of long traffic delays.
Double ugh!
Besides the history of Philly,
I came to see this truly amazing public art installation.
Mission accomplished yesterday on a very steamy day in the city.
The mosaic garden is the largest art installation of artist Isaiah Zagar.
After he and his wife served three years in the Peace Corps in the mid-1960s, they settled in Philadelphia and began a lifelong career of creating public art.  
In 1994, Zagar started working on vacant lots near his studio on South Street.
He spent two years molding and sculpting multi-layer walls from found objects, but when the  Boston-based owner learned of his work, he decided to sell the land.  
The community did not want to see the art installation destroyed, so they rallied together, and after a 2 year long court battle, Zagar's creation became a nonprofit organization, given the name Philadelphia's Magic Gardens.
Zagar's work can be found on more than 200 public walls around Philadelphia and the world.
I have never done mosaics but have always loved it and this definitely makes me want to learn.
Truly inspiring.
And magical!
Have a blessed day!


Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

This is so beautiful!

Linda said...

Wow that's neat!! Glad you got to see it.

Julia - Vintage with Laces said...

Thank you for sharing this, Tammy! I LOVE the walls. Enjoy the rest of your trip!
xo Julia

Mini said...

Oh this reminds me of Rock garden in Chandigarh, India which I visited early this year.
I find the whole concept amazing... and now opening this to public is like a wish come true for an art lover.

Lilbitbrit said...

I live 15 miles from Philly and have not seen them, you have inspired me to visit. I can't believe your visit coincided with our heat wave, my car temp gauge said it hit 105 f, unbelievable. Glad you enjoyed it. My son went to Ithaca, hope all goes well for his upcoming year.

Jennifer Hays said...

This is so interesting, Tammy. I especially love the mosaic tree design in the last photo, with the shiny glass tiles in it. You can see the bricks in what must be another building across the street. I haven't been to Philadelphia in about 15 years, but what a great city. There is so much to see and do there, I really loved it when I went. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

Betsy said...

WOW! I had never heard of this. That's certainly a lot of work! Thank you for sharing with us.

Kit said...

Oh wow! This is so beautiful! I am glad they kept the gardens. I love art like this. Philly is my old stomping grounds. And I love the city. I grew up across the river in Pennsauken, NJ. Have a wonderful stay! Are you going to the Rocky Steps? :) Kit

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Tammy,
Glad you did safely arrive in Philadelphia. Traffic in the Northeast can be a real problem, I've had lots of delays while living in Pennsylvania.
Wow, you got to visit your mosaic place and one can clearly see that they worked for some two years; piece by piece.
But what I understand from reading this, he just started doing this on property that was not his own... Not a very nice thing to do but luckily it worked out the way it did!
Have a safe time for the remainder of your trip.

Lisa said...

How wonderful! The intricacies of the mosaics are beautiful. We have a few pieces of public art in out town but I'm definitely thinking we need a mosaic.

Pradeepa said...

Wonderful place! We have something similar in Chandigarh called Rock Garden which was created entirely out of household and industrial wastes. I think it was also built around the same time.

Gracie Saylor said...

The sheer magnitude of the works of art is amazing! I am glad you were able to see so much. I have only done a little mosaic work as a child...with linoleum pieces as I remember, but it would be fun to learn how to do more now. Somehow I missed a lot of your posts which I just caught up on now. I was camping the last part of July near the ocean and it was beautiful even though foggy and cool. I hope you continue to have safe travels and hopefully no more frustrating traffic. xx

Vicki Boster said...

Gosh Tammy- those mosiacs are beautiful. They remind me of some of the art that I saw in Barcelona. Looks like you are having a wonderful visit..

Oh yes- it's been miserable and steamy hot!!

summersundays-jw said...

Truly amazing! Thanks for sharing. Hope it's cooling a little for's been quite a summer! Now August brings heat, floods, & fires....& they say there's no global warming!!!!

Diane said...

I LOVE THIS!! I'm so glad you got to see it. Diane

Mary said...

Such a body of work for an artist to create - just so beautiful.
Speaking of beauty - you look fabulous Tammy, being home must be agreeing with you my dear, and of course you are used to hot weather so don't even look wilted like I do this summer!

Sam I Am...... said...

How beautiful is his art work? So glad the community was able to save it and share it with others. How inspiring! BTW...I received your package! Awesome! What a surprise it was and so pretty! I'll post about it and I loved the card too! I have your cards on my frig and the grands were asking about them. I love doilies and it will get much use! You are too kind! I hope you have a wonderful and safe trip and that it's not too hard on you leaving your children here. The U.S. is a crazy and scary place right now....I hardly recognize it from when I was growing up but then that's what happens when you get old, like me....we start talking about "the good old days"! LOL! Many hugs to you and yours!

Melanie said...

That art is amazing and beautiful! I had no idea Philadelphia had such a thing. Not that I've ever been there, but I've never even heard of it. Thank you for sharing with us.

SusanLotus said...

Increadible Art! I wish we could all live in such an inspiting environment.
Thanks for sharing and hope you are having a really great time back in USA.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...


Hope you enjoyed your trip to my hometown. Both Steve and I are from the Philadelphia area. Steve was born in Fishtown (a northern part of Philadelphia) and I was raised in Montgomery County just outside the city. It's a wonderful place to live.

Safe travels home!

Helen Philipps said...

Absolutely amazing artwork....thank you for sharing these fantastic pictures with us, Tammy. Hope you have a wonderful trip.
Helen xox

Summer said...

Wow! So very beautiful ♥

Jodiebodie said...

Mosaics on that scale are so amazing! Wow it is a very traditional craft in many places I don't see a lot of it around Adelaide but when I do see it, the work is always fascinating.

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