Y3W: One Man's Trash

When I was a student in Philadelphia, I was never lacking for inspiration. In a city filled with museums and art colleges you are hard pressed to find yourself in a space without art. From the Toynbee Tiles I passed every day on 15th and Chestnut to the paintings I studied in the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Parkway, every day was a challenge in absorbing as much inspiration as possible in the time I'd live in the city.

Of all the art that I saw while living in Philly, the creations that I treasure most were the ones that puzzled me most. All over the city I'd see these mosaics on buildings. On South Street there was a mystery (to me) being constructed. A building, covered in mirrors, tiles, broken cups, plates and knick knacks. The most intriguing part to me was the courtyard, hidden from public view by a large, wooden privacy fence. You could see bicycle wheels and bottles set into concrete peaking over the edges of the fence. What are they doing in there? Who is doing this? When will they let everyone see?

Every visit to South Street had to begin and end with a peek through the slats in that wooden fence. I couldn't wait to see the finished product. Years passed, I moved away, the mosaics fell away from my every day thoughts and I would only intermittently think about that mysterious courtyard and wonder what had become of it. It wasn't until this past November that I finally got the chance to visit this place that filled so many of my daydreams. I left with my head spinning and feeling so blessed to know that there are people in this world that can take someone else's trash and turn it into a stunning masterpiece.

Take a trip with me through the Magic Gardens. It is truly a visual feast. Since it is such, I will leave you with photos rather than more stories about the Magic Gardens. However, I would not only encourage you to visit this masterpiece in person - photos just do not do it justice - but please visit their website and learn about the artist, Isaiah Zagar. The history behind this project is not just about a work of art, but a labor of love and a story of recycling and revitalization.

One man's trash has become this city's unique treasure.



Thanks to Philadelphia's Magic Gardens for hosting our group. I was given complimentary passes to tour and review Philadelphia's Magic Gardens but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you again for hosting us and thank you to Mr. Zagar for sharing your gift with the city of Philadelphia.