In 2008, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens opened to the public. With a name like “The Magic Garden”, how can anybody just walk on by.  We stepped into a line of about twenty-five people and waited to be ushered into the lobby of a small hole in the wall building. During our 15 or so minute wait, we admired the outer wall of the garden, noticing the intricacies of someone’s tedious mosaic work. When you hear the word “garden” you assume you will be walking a path of flowers, admiring the different blooms. That was not the case here. The outer wall was a just taste of what was about to come.

We entered the lobby, and our minds were blown, everything from the floors to the ceiling adorned masterful mosaic placements. This wasn’t a garden at all, this was an art project. We paid our admission and headed out to the “garden”. Standing at the entrance I didn’t know where to begin. We were on the other side of the outer wall now, outdoors again. We were in a mosaic labyrinth surrounded by plates, glass bottles, mirrors, hand-made tiles and other ceramics carefully placed in the walls. Metal bicycle rims thoughtfully used to add even more dimension. As I progress through the maze, I feel like I am on the impossible Penrose stairs. I went down and ended up where I was without having to go up…. I turn right and end up left. It was amazing! I even snapped a few pictures of  TheStrayKat.

This incredible half a block, three-lot maze of mosaic wonder was the work of artist Isaiah Zagar. Inside, past the lobby is a gallery of some of Zagar’s other works as well.  Zagar has devoted himself to beautifying the South Street neighborhood since the late 1960s. His Magic Garden installation is something everyone should stop by and see when visiting Philadelphia. Located 1020 South Street, Philadelphia PA. You can’t miss it.

 

Check out the official Magic Gardens website here.

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