Rebecca Mah

journal

Magic Gardens

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Chances are, if you've been to south Philly before you've seen at least one of Isaiah Zagar's many mosaic murals. To this day, he has created hundreds of mosaics throughout Philadelphia and around the world, and continues to do so. Isaiah moved to the area with his wife, Julia, in the late 1960s, and at the time, a proposed highway threatened to eliminate South Street. The Zagars worked with several other artists and activists to transform the neighborhood into an artistic haven. The street was saved, and this period later became known as the 'South Street Renaissance'. 

In 1994, Isaiah Zagar started working on the vacant lots at 1020 South Street that would later become Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. It is Zagar's largest work to-date, spanning three city lots including indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth. I love walking down South Street whenever I'm in the neighborhood, because every time I pass by I notice something new. 

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PhillyRebecca Mah