Repurposing old junk into art at Philadelphia Magic Gardens

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“Magic” is exactly the right word for the Magic Gardens, a remarkable art space at 1020 South Street in Philadelphia. Artist Isaiah Zagar has decorated the entire property with mosaics of glass and repurposed junk such as broken china, used bike wheels, and Latin American toys. This place is trippy even when you’re sober.

walkways

flower-cow

Zagar says, “Art should not be segregated in museums; It needs to live free among us.” For that reason, he creates these public art spaces and welcomes visitors to enjoy the finished products. Many of his mosaics are scattered throughout the city of Philadelphia. Magic Gardens is the biggest collection of Zagar’s work.

mosaic-face-words

yellow-and-floor

Bottles and cans, clap your hands. There’s nothing better than turning old junk into art.

bottles-plates

wheel-creature

Even though the city of Philadelphia has many famous art museums, the Magic Gardens is my favorite art spot. All of the strange sights make it an Instagram user’s paradise.

montage-bottles

mosaic-shield

You’re not going to find art like this in a typical stuffy art museum.

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mosaic-orange-blue

You’ll probably find yourself compelled to take some self pics in the broken glass. I don’t care to reveal how many shots of myself I took.

mosaic-reflection2

montage-colorful

The Gardens were pretty busy when I stopped by. The abundance of visitors created the opportunity for some artsy shots of other guests.

wheel-view

bottles-view

This is a large piece of property. After starting indoors, you head out to the garden area, which doesn’t have any grass at all, since the ground has been tiled and the walls covered with mosaics. The setup is almost like a maze, with various walkways and multiple floors weaving through the grounds.

entrance-magic-gardens

magic-gardens-gate

Magic Gardens is a non-profit organization. Current admission price is $7. The Gardens are open everyday, though sometimes they close early for private events. Check out the official website for further details.

Note: I was a guest of visitphilly.com at the Magic Gardens.

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16 Responses to Repurposing old junk into art at Philadelphia Magic Gardens

  1. jill November 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    You visit the coolest places. I have a feeling I’ll LOVE this place. It’s so quirky!!
    jill recently posted..Glaciers and More, Scenic Road Trips from Anchorage

    • Scott November 8, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      It’s a lot of fun!

  2. Stephanie - The Travel Chica November 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Very cool! I’ve been to Philly once but only saw the boring historical attractions :-)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Coolest playground ever… for adults too!

    • Scott November 8, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      Check it out for sure if you make it back there.

  3. Lane November 6, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    We love these little hodge-podge, bric-a-brac, homemade museums to junk. This is another one for our list!
    Lane recently posted..Boulder Festival Guide

    • Scott November 8, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      I love those places too.

  4. John November 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I saw the exterior of this place while exploring south street one cold evening so many years ago. It looked so cool from the outside, but your pics inside are even more stunning. Would love to go back and check this out more in depth.
    John recently posted..Under the Sea of Cortez

    • Scott November 8, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      It’s a photographer’s dream in addition to being a really cool place.

  5. Arianwen November 10, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    What a cool place! I wish I was more creatively minded.
    Arianwen recently posted..Sand boarding in Huacachina: speeding head-first towards certain death

    • Scott November 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      This guy is more creatively minded than all of us!

  6. Marisol@TravelingSolemates November 10, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    WOW!!! Those are beautiful works of art. What an amazing use of recyclable materials. I’d like to hop on a train to Philly right now to see it. Thanks for letting me know about it. Lovely photos.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..The Soul of Athens

    • Scott November 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed the photos!

  7. Ayelet - All Colores November 14, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    I never thought of visiting Philadelphia before, but I have a feeling my camera would party there. Love the creativity!
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..Carmel National Park, Israel: The Hidden Treasures of the Trail

    • Scott November 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

      Oh yes, the cameras love this place.

  8. Juliet November 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    That is so cool. Love the artistic upcycling.
    Juliet recently posted..Luckenbach: Waylon, Willie and the Boys

    • Scott November 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      I wonder how he came up with the idea!

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