Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

A whimsical world of mosaics and found sculptures.

One Artist’s Magic Vision

Back in the 1960’s, mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar and his wife moved to Philadelphia. They started buying up old buildings in the South Street neighbourhood and plastering them in gorgeous mosaics. In 1994, in a vacant lot next to his studio, Zagar began to create his masterpiece: the Magic Gardens.

A Fantastical Community Treasure

The Magic Gardens consist of 3,000 square feet of layers and tunnels covered in Zagar’s mosaics. But the mosaics aren’t the only draw: the gardens are also decorated with dozens of found objects from the neighborhood. Foreign sculptures, shattered mirrors, and even bike wheels from a local shop adorn the walls and alcoves.

When the owner of the lot decided to sell in 2002, the community came together to purchase and preserve the Magic Gardens. Now a nonprofit, visitors can take guided tours of the gardens and participate in art workshops. When the weather is warm, Summer Twilight in the Gardens brings music, crafts, and fun to the city.