Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is an unmistakable institution on Philadelphia’s South Street. If pedestrians find the fantastical shapes and figures created by mosaicked mirror and tile familiar, it is because the artist has been decorating his neighborhood for over 40 years. There are over 120 public walls in the city that feature his unique art, many of which are in South Philadelphia.
Isaiah Zagar, although raised in Brooklyn, was born in Philadelphia. He acquired his B.A. in painting and graphics from Pratt Institute and, as a student, found himself very inspired by outdoor art. After completing Peace Corps Service with his wife, Zagar returned to his native city. They settled on South Street in 1968 and opened a folk art store called the Eye’s Gallery. It was here that Zagar discovered his love and aptitude for mosaic, and he connected with his neighborhood by turning both public