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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Art and Museums of Philadelphia - Part 2

Last week I took you on a quick trip through some art and museums of Philadelphia in Part 1 of this post, and now I want to continue showing you what other awesome things the city has to offer.


Like a lot of other cities, Philly works with local artists to beautify their city, through statues, murals and more throughout the city. Everywhere you look there are amazing things to see from all different sorts of artists in all different mediums. 


If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love a good wall mural, and walking around Philadelphia is sort of like a dream, because you find the most interesting artwork on the sides of buildings, in all of its neighborhoods. This Olde City one caught my eye with so many little pieces and the stark contrast between just the two colors.
Not only are there tons of works of art, but you can even take mural walking tours of the city. We had limited time and didn't take one, but we sure did see a lot while we were going from one attraction to another. I mean, walking is the best way to see a destination and you don't miss out on as much as you might taking public transportation or driving (which we did do, but we parked in a lot in the mornings and drove "home" in the evenings). You have to slow down and look around. We even found this mural, above, still being worked on and colored in.


Even the mundane things in the city have makeovers, like this electrical box. You also see colorful trash bins and alleyways and outdoor rooftops. 

I had to stop and take several pictures of the side of this building. Not only were the colors fantastic, even on a cloudy day, but the artist made it look like it had stained glass windows where there was only a brick wall. It was gorgeous.


Philadelphia is known as The City of Brotherly Love, so you'll see renditions of the classic LOVE statue all over, as well as XOXO. This AMOR caught my eye, as it's different, in a part of town that is French and Italian, and it's on a box, so people can stand underneath to get their picture taken.

It's hard to pick favorite art from the city, because there's so much and it's all so different from each other. If you love art, and you're on a budget, just take a walk anywhere with your camera and get an eyeful of free culture.


We had the opportunity to check out a much recommended attraction in Philadelphia called Magic Gardens. This massive work of art is made up of pottery, china and pieces the artist Isaiah Zagar enjoyed to make these fantastic mosaics. Everywhere you look, there are 50 things to catch your eye. 

Zagar found mosaics as a way to combat his depression and also make the city more interesting to look at. He was part of a group of artists who would purchase not so great buildings and completely reinvent them. It got to the point that shops and landlords began to hire him to create cool mosaics for their buildings as well, and you can see some of these on the buildings you pass on South Street, and also down alleys between houses and shops. 


Zagar started Magic Gardens and it was completely filled with things he loved within 14 years. There are so many tiny things (and huge things) in the labyrinth of mosaics, that it might take that long to enjoy every piece he put into this. Above is one of my favorite tile finds. 


There are tunnels and steps and archways and walls and towers and words of encouragement. It's definitely a lot to take in on just one trip. I eavesdropped a bit on a private tour going on and learned that sometimes tiles weren't meant to live outside in the weather and have had to be replaced over time. Zagar will choose or create new pieces to replace them and comes out and mixes his own mortar as well. He's very hands-on with his creation and you can see that with each step you take. There was care to make the most of every inch you see. 


While you walk around, you'll find a lot of bicycle wheels, which were all donated by a local repair shop. Even the bathrooms are covered in mosaic, and there is a small exhibit "hall" off the back of the ticket desk where you can see even more art and make purchases as well. 


Can you believe how much effort and love went into the Gardens? At one point, Eric and I were standing in the middle and I told him to look up, and you can see mosaics and art on the chimney, probably 40 feet over your head. It was amazing. 

There are a lot of sexualized pieces and nude men and women at Magic Gardens, so if that's not a conversation you want to have with your small people, this might be a thing to skip with them. They aren't crazy obvious, but there are plenty of them all over if you're looking closely. If you celebrate the human body and don't have these issues, it's a definite must-visit. 

What do you think of the wonders of Magic Gardens? Stay tuned for more of my Philadelphia adventures.


Disclaimer: Visit Philly gave me a VIP attraction pass in order to visit Magic Gardens at no cost, but all opinions are 100% my own.
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