Please keep in mind that our space is open to the general public and that our permanent mosaic installation cannot be compromised.
April 19, 2013 - June 9, 2013
Imaginings from Nature is a compilation of whimsical, personal narratives by local ceramic artist, Katia McGuirk. In the spirit of bricolage mosaic-making, McGuirk employs a diverse range of found objects and handmade materials to assemble tiles, panel mosaics, and site-specific installation. Her intuitive exploration of objects which utilizes clay, tile, glass, stone, and metal produces playful, nature-inspired assemblages that embody the energetic spirit of tilemakers, educators, and community advocates of the past, present, and future.
March 1, 2013 - April 14, 2013
FREE Opening Reception: Friday, March 8, 6:00PM-9:00PM
January 25, 2013 -February 24, 2013
FREE Opening Reception: Friday, January 25, 6:00PM-9:00PM
El Viaje de los Niños (The Children’s Journey) tells the stories of Mexican immigrant children who have crossed the border to come to Philadelphia. Through visual art sessions with artist Nora H. Litz, the children created large-scale dioramas that illustrate their journeys and the distress that migration has created in their lives and identities. Narrating their stories in accompanying audio tracks, the children take us along with them on their pilgrimage Small paintings and poems by immigrant adults augment the children's stories to fully reveal their emotional journeys. These colorful works fit perfectly with the vibrant galleries at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens and with the continued presence of Mexican folk art in the space. Don't miss the opportunity to experience these extraordinary art pieces first hand and get a glimpse into the journey of those who have struggled to make America their home.
El Viaje de los Niños is supported in part by a grant from the Leeway Foundation to Nora H. Litz in collaboration with Puentes de Salud, and with assistance from Dr. Steven Larson, University of Pennsylvania.
Program Dates, as part of One Book, One Philadelphia:
Multi-disciplinary panel discussion
Philadelphia's Magic Gardens; Sunday, February 10, NOON-4:00PM
Aztec stamping craft for families
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens; Thursday, February 21, 6:00PM-7:30PM
Founding artist discusses his return to the U.S. after years of Peace Corps service in Peru
Private Play: Works by Pam Lethbridge
Friday, October 5- Sunday, November 18
Nearly 200 eccentric ceramic dolls, mixed media figurines, and modified polaroids created an imaginative fairy-tale world within Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (1020 South Street) this autumn. Private Play featured unusual and site-specific installations of misfit "toys,” all newly crafted by Philadelphia artist Pam Lethbridge.
Inspired by years of experience in the mental health field, the distinct psychological themes found throughout Lethbridge’s work highlight the complicated relationships we have with our childhoods and with one another. Both vulnerable and curious, Lethbridge’s childish characters reveal a complex connection with each other and their audience.
Pam Lethbridge received a graduate degree from Yale University in Adult Psychiatric Nursing and worked in this discipline for 23 years. She was an artist in the Associate Program at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia from 1999 through 2011 and now has a private studio in South Philadelphia. Lethbridge has exhibited her art at the Snyderman-Works Gallery at 303 Cherry Street,Philadelphia, since 2000. Explains Rick Snyderman, "Dolls as spirit figures are present in every culture. In ours… they are covered up, pampered and secure in elegant clothing, as we imagine and wish our own children to be. Lethbridge requires us to examine a darker reality that much of the world lives with[in].”
PMG’s founding artist Isaiah Zagar is also heavily influenced by his psychological experiences. His artistic practice served as self-administered therapy throughout the years, particularly after his nervous breakdown in the late 1960s. Constantly exploring his own psyche, Zagar embeds his personal narratives into his murals, both with tiny painted tiles and large, encompassing figures. Childhood experiences, family relationships, portraits of friends past and present, fantasies, anxieties, joys and lamentations have all been recorded in Zagar's seemingly playful art.
The psychological themes found in the work of both Lethbridge and Zagar offer a gateway to open, honest dialogue about the complexity of our human experience. These two brave artists welcome viewers to explore the intricate relationships we all have with the world around us.
Download the entire press release here
New Work by Isaiah Zagar
Envisioning Home: Perspectives from Philadelphia Refugees featured a dazzling arrangement of photography by refugees living in Philadelphia. Escaping turmoil in their countries, these families often arrive in the United States feeling emotionally overwhelmed and experiencing culture shock. As part of a major study by Thomas Jefferson University, these displaced persons told their stories of making Philadelphia "home" through photographs. Their works spoke straight from the heart and helped to communicate the resettlement stresses that impact their mental health.
This research project featured families from the three largest refugee populations in Philadelphia: the Burmese, Iraqi, and Bhutanese. To complete their photo journal, participants dictated captions explaining the significance of their images and how they relate to resettlement.
The exhibition also included beautiful photographs taken by artist Harvey Finkle, a Philadelphia-based documentary still photographer. Finkle has produced an extensive body of work focusing on social, political, and cultural issues (pictured below). He works very closely with refugee families and has developed a deep understanding of their lives here in the United States.
Envisioning Home was a collaboration between PMG, Thomas Jefferson Hospital, the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative (PRMHC), and Lutheran Children and Family Services. It took place in conjunction with other culturally- and linguistically- appropriate mental health care programs that bridged PRMHC's refugee social service work with community arts.
This program and exhibition were sponsored by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, The PEW Charitable Trust, Lutheran Children and Family Services, the Mural Arts Program, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.
Exhibition: Friday June 22 - Sunday July 8
Artists sometimes draw inspiration from unforeseen places, thus the title for PMG's exhibition Unexpected Muses. This show illustrated the mutual inspiration felt by PMG founding artist Isaiah Zagar, ceramicist Jimmy Clark and sculpture artist Majid Iraei. Clark uses bits of pottery within his ceramic pieces, which Zagar responds to with his own interpretations of Clark's works in mosaic form. Iraei, who is Zagar's assistant, also draws inspiration from Zagar's work, who in turn puts elements of Iraei's middle-eastern background into his mosaics. The cyclical result is powerful and results in a series of unique and alluring artworks.
Jimmy Clark was Executive Director of the Clay Studio in Philadelphia for over 16 years. His approach to working with clay is in cooperation with the material where the creator is encouraged to "listen to the clay. That is to allow the clay and the environment to help determine the ultimate size and form. This intuitive method is complimented by firings that defy ultimate control. He considers himself but one of three integral components in the creation of a piece: maker, material, and fire.
Isaiah Zagar is an award-winning mosaic mural artist whose work can be found on over 200 public Philadelphia walls. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Brooklyn, Zagar's work is included in the permanent collections of numerous art institutions. Zagar, like Clark, incorporates many found objects into his work, including broken plates, mugs, and tiles.He reappropriates these pieces to form entirely new compositions.Looking at the ceramic works made by his contemporary, Zagar forms his mosaics in response to the arrangements, often adding his own twist.The outcomes are colorful and flowing mosaic designs that turn Clark's functional pieces into purely aesthetic creations.
Majid Iraei is a graphic designer, sculptor, photographer, and multi-media artist from Tehran, Iran. He has apprenticed with Isaiah Zagar for nearly two years. Iraei's "Little Dancers" series has been ongoing project for several years. The "Dancers," comprised of wire, yarn, and found-objects, reflect the characters and unique personalities which color Iraei's world. Often presented in complex, narrative animations, this "Little Dancers" grouping reflects Iraei's current experiences while living in America. Iraei also influences Zagar, who has included Farsi and middle-eastern imagery into his works.
Echele Ganas: A Life Left Behind
Photograph and Film of Mexico by Laurence Salzmann
Friday, April 27 through Sunday, June 16
View an article in the Philadephia Inquirer about Echele Ganas
PMG displayed Laurence Salzmann's incredible photography of Sierra Norte de Puebla, a rural, mountainous region in Mexico. Salzmann captured the life and culture "left behind" by Mexicans traveling to Philadelphia in search of employment opportunities.
Echele Ganas described the lives left behind by Mexican workers and revealed their pride for their cultural community. It also illustrated the rapid changes within rural Mexican communities, often a direct result of the financial aid that workers have sent back home. The Sierra Norte inhabitants still celebrate a rich set of cultural activities, weddings, saints' day celebrations, and first communions, all of which play an integral part of their lives and the lives of their family members now transplanted to Philadelphia.
Also featured within the PMG exhibition were three film excerpts from Salzmann's full-length documentary, Echele Ganas: Do Your Best.
The exhibition occured during the entire length of the De Pueblo a Pueblo festival. View more images of Salzmann's exhibition, called Echeleganas: DoYour Best here.
Laurence Salzmann's signature works imply deeper cultural messages, rooted in social-documentary tradition. His photographs and films portray the lives of little-known and diverse groups of people, ranging from residents of single room occupancy hotels in New York City to Transylvanian transhumant shepherds, Mexican villagers, and Romanian Holocaust survivors. His photographic method involves careful study and long-term participation within these social or ethnic groups. The resulting works illustrate how his subjects are shaped by their environments and conditions.
Salzmann's photography has been displayed at many galleries and museums throughout the world, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Amsterdam Jewish Museum; International Center of Photography, New York; Tufts Art Gallery, Boston; Beth Hatefutsoth Museum, Tel Aviv; Peasant Museum, Bucharest; Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC; and George Pompidou Center, Paris.
Fragmented Reflections: Impressions in Clay
Mosaics by Michal Golan
February 10, 2012 - April 15, 2012
Mosaic and jewelry artist Michal Golan finds much of the inspiration for her lively works within the clay itself: a material with both a lengthy history and a myriad of contemporary applications.
Fragmented Reflections represents a blend of her present-day influences, paired with experiences acquired from her upbringing in Haifa, Israel.
October 24 - November 20, 2011
A Glimpse Into the Kitchen was a series of photographs by Agustin Victor Casasola, presented in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Center.
Bike Part Art Show
October 12 - October 22, 2011
The Bike Part Art Show, which benefits Neighborhood Bike Works, is a Philadelphia tradition, featuring unique artworks created from bicycle parts. The exhibition at the Magic Gardens culminated in an artwork auction. For more information, visit the Neighborhood Bike Works website.
The Visionnaires: The Coalition Ingenu Self-Taught Artists Collective
August 12 - September 4, 2011
The Visionnaires was an exhibition by The Coalition Ingenu of Outsider works inspired by visions or perceptions of things that exist beyond the causal plane. Featured artists included Jim Bloom, Justin Duerr, Edward Wolte