Philadelphia is a city full of artistic wonders, with a thriving arts scene and a large collection of awe-inspiring museums and gallery spaces all across town. Our Philadelphia adoption agents think that if you’re raising a family in Philly, you should make sure to enjoy as much of the art here as you possibly can. Introducing your kids to art can help them better understand the beauty of the world and potentially begin stoking their own creative passions. The Magic Gardens on South Street is one of our favorite art spaces in the city. Some aspects we enjoy here include:
About The Magic Gardens
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a nonprofit art museum and gallery space stretching across a half block at 10th and South Streets. An artist named Isaiah Zagar built this space. Zagar and his wife Julia have been major figures in the beautification of the South Street neighborhood since the 1960s when they moved to the area. They worked on renovation projects from run-down buildings and added colorful mosaic artwork to private and public walls in the neighborhood. The Zagars and other local artists helped transform the neighborhood into an artistic haven during a period known as the South Street Renaissance.
Zagar began working on what would become the Philadelphia Magic Gardens in 1991. He mosaicked the buildings on either side of the vacant lots near his apartment at 1020 South Street. Over the years, he would sculpt multi-layer walls here using a variety of found objects. In 2002, the owner of the lots discovered the art and decided to sell the land, asking for the art to be dismantled. However, the community and artist worked together and after a two-year legal battle, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens were incorporated as a nonprofit organization. It opened to the public in 2008.
Current & Upcoming Exhibitions
Taking a stroll through the Magic Gardens is always a majestic experience, but they also run several temporary exhibitions which are usually worth a look. Some current and upcoming exhibitions include:
Outsider Inspirations: The Influence of Art Environments on Isaiah Zagar
The opening reception for this exhibition is on Friday, July 13 and it runs through Sunday, August 26. Outsider Inspirations explores the influences that inspired Isaiah Zagar to create the Magic Gardens. Zagar says that discovering the art installations of Clarence Schmidt at 19 years old was a formative creative experience. Schmidt built his home with mirrors, bicycle wheels, dolls, and other found objects – a concept which would later inspire Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. In this exhibition, Zagar pays tribute to Schmidt and other arts, such as Simon Rodia, Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, and many others.
Ebb Tide: Sculptures by Tasha Lewis
Ebb Tide runs from Friday, August 31 through Sunday, November 4 and showcases the sculptures of Tasha Lewis. Lewis is a New Jersey artist who creates hand-sewn sculptures using beads, pearls, detailed embroidery, and other intricate touches.