Archive for Mosaic Sculpture

A Mosaic Masterpiece on Philadelphia’s South Street

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Local Treasures, Music and Film, Neighborhood Noir with tags , , , , on July 28, 2011 by mariamprh

By MARIA MURRAY

In the deluge of urban shops that make up South Street is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a folk art environment, gallery space, and nonprofit organization that showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar. From outside the gates of this public installation, you can see partially into a carefully constructed mosaic labyrinth. Yet, the outsider’s view of this glass garden – which stretches down a half of a city block – does not speak to the magnitude of Zagar’s intricate mosaic sculpture. Every inch of both the indoor gallery and outdoor mosaic sculpture is covered, with bicycle wheels, glass bottles, different sized mirrors, Zagar’s hand-made tiles, and sculptures hailing from Latin America and Asia.

$5 gets you admission into the garden, where visitors can walk through at their leisure.  A now permanent art institution, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens originated in a vacant lot near Zagar’s studio in 1994. Though the previously vacant lot’s owner attempted to sell the land in 2002, the community backed Zagar’s art, which helped to incorporate it as a nonprofit organization. With Zagar’s artwork permanently preserved, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens makes art more accessible to the South Street community, prompting “civic engagement, community beautification, and artistic collaboration.”

PMG’s artistic collaboration extends to its public programs, which include film screenings, artists-in-residencies, concerts, and gallery openings. Every other Sunday, the Garden is home to a variety of themed, hands-on workshops for families. From noon until 4 pm, “Family Jams” can include book arts projects, poetry workshops, paper mosaics, and tile pin-making. Workshops and activities are free with admission.

If you head down to South Street this Saturday, PMG is hosting ART/GAGE: Celebrate Philly Creativity, the Garden’s fourth annual summer festival. With over 30 art and food vendors, and performances and demonstrations from local organizations, the festival is expected to double in attendance from last year. For ticket prices, visit http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/news/news.

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