Public ProgramsAs part of our mission to foster artistic collaboration and make art accessible to a wider audience, PMG collaborates with local artists, nonprofits, businesses, and community festivals to present unique site-specific programs that are open to the public.
Key public programs include:
View past Public Event information here.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is excited to demonstrate its Philly pride on August 15, 2013 with its sixth annual summer festival ART/GAGE: Celebrate Philly Creativity in collaboration with Night Market Philadelphia.
The ART/GAGE creative team included PMG staff and outside professionals to bring an inclusive approach to community arts. This year's committee features:
- SARA MCCORRISTON, Co-Founder, Paradigm Gallery; Artist
- JOHN THOMPSON, Co-Founder, Napolean Gallery; Professor, University of the Arts
- EMILY ROMICK, Programming Committee, Museum Council of Philadelphia
- ANDY MOLHOLT, Independent Music Curator; Musician
- JILLIAN HARIG, Assistant Vice President, Assistant Branch Manager, PNC Bank
- ELLEN M. OWENS, Executive Director, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
- LAUREN HARKINS, Performance Coordinator, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
- ALLISON BOYLE, Events Manager, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
- EMMA MAX, Garden Guide, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
- CLAIRE COSSABOON, Development Associate, Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
Partner organization Night Market Philadelphia is hosted by Food Trust, a nationally renowned non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. This year’s collaboration between ART/GAGE and Night Market Philadelphia celebrates the uniqueness of the South Street neighborhood–a community which possesses a rich history of amazing arts, music and cultural venues.
The festival will stretch the length of South Street and accommodate more vendors, performances, participating community organizations, and a diverse audience, creating an even more exciting environment for a street fair. Art and food vendors, paired with free performances and demonstrations, will attract young adults, families, local art students, and Philadelphia tourists to South Street for positive, community-friendly activities. The anticipated audience is over 25,000 people, and ART/GAGE will facilitate artistic experiences that the audiences of Night Market may not have encountered before!
Click here for the 2013 Artist's Application
PAST PUBLIC EVENTS:
Afternoons with the Artist
Do you have a question you've always wanted to ask Isaiah Zagar, the creator of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens? Maybe just how many bottles it took to make PMG’s colorful mosaic labyrinth, how Zagar has had the energy to build something so large, or who his major influences were? Now is your opportunity to ask the artist himself! Visit Zagar's studio between 1:00-4:00PM on the specified dates to chat with the artist and learn more about his glittering mosaic masterpiece!
These scheduled conversations are FREE with admission and will take place on the following dates:
Sunday, December 16, 2012, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Sunday, January 6, 2013, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2013, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Sunday, March 3, 2013, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
This year's festival took place on Saturday, July 28.
Inspired by our annual Summer Solstice celebrations, ART/GAGE 2011 was an all-day, block-wide celebration of Philadelphia's artistic creativity. For this Festival, the 1000 block of South Street was filled with performances, live art, activities, and a street fair.
In April 2011, PMG highlighted early twentieth-century French artists and writers whose names and/or references appear in the tiles and concrete of Isaiah Zagar's 3,000-square-foot mosaic garden. These three events brought to life the artworks and words of creative minds that have greatly influenced Zagar:
Immersed in Art: Visionary and Vernacular Artists from France and Beyond
Thursday, April 14, 7:00 PM
$15/adult; $12/student or member
PMG presented art historians Valerie Rousseau and Dan Schank, who lectured about Art Brut -- French "outsider art" -- and its connection to past and present visionary and folk artists, including PMG founder Isaiah Zagar. Zagar discussed his own visionary art influences, particularly in relationship to Art Brut. Afterward, visitors met the lecturers and Zagar, and participated in a group discussion and question session.
Wednesday, April 20 and Thursday, April 21, 7:00 PM
$15/adult; $12/ student or member
The mosaicked corridors of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, Isaiah Zagar's non-traditional visionary art environment, came to life through a series of exquisite, evocative vignettes. In Poetic Passageways, choreographer/dancer Olive Prince (Olive Prince Dance and Drexel University), composer/musician Christopher Farrell (Rit Mo Collective and Temple University), and other performers married movement, music, and language into a site-specific performance. View a sneak preview here!
Interpreting the poetry, philosophy, and art of Dadaists and Surrealists such as Apollinaire, Maillarme, Breton, and Duchamp, dancers and musicians engaged guests with playful and explorative pieces that related these works to the massive art installation that served as their stage. Isaiah Zagar, creator of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, drew inspiration from these historic figures for his large, visionary piece.
Audiences wandered through various performance stations, interacting within both the space itself and the wondrous movements and sounds.
Mosaic Mural Tours
Saturdays at 12pm and 4pm; Sundays at 4pm
$10/adult; includes admission to PMG
Philadelphia's Magic Gardens was open to the public every day during this festival and highlighted Zagar's French artistic influences through ongoing tours of the space. These tours discussed specific French references and texts, as well as Zagar's techniques, narratives, and South Street history.
PMG's PIFA programs were sponsored in part by:
One Book, One Philadelphia
In celebration of War Dances by Sherman Alexie, Philadelphia's Magic Gardens presented Battle of the Bios, an opportunity for local authors and storytellers to compete for a $100 Grand Prize.
Summer Solstice 2010
Philadelphia's Magic Gardens to Host 3rd Annual Summer Solstice Festival, "Once Upon A Tile"
Saturday, June 26, 2010 from 1:00pm – 10:00pm
Many visitors joined Philadelphia's Magic Gardens in an all-out celebration of long summer days at the third annual Summer Solstice Festival, spanning 1:00pm to 10:00pm on June 26, 2010. That year's Summer Solstice Festival, "Once Upon A Tile,” was PMG's largest event of the year, featuring music, dancing, poetry readings, and interactive activities, all with narrative themes.
The day's programming told many interesting stories through song, poetry, painting, and visual arts. From 1:00pm to 6:00pm, guests could roam the adjacent Kater and Alder Streets where a wide variety of artists and food vendors (Renaissance Sausage, Sugar Philly, and more) sold their wares. Evening refreshments for the 2010 Summer Solstice Festival were generously donated by Fergie's Pub and Art of the Ages' Root Liquor.
The entertainment started at 2:00pm, where you could become a part of the story with an interactive songwriting performance by Avi Wisnia. Eclectic performances, both indoors and outside in the mosaicked corridors, kept visitors entertained throughout the day. Fun hands-on art activities for kids and adults allowed Solstice celebrators the opportunity to make (and take home) their own work of art. Ana Vizcarra's beautiful site-specific goddess candle installation illuminated the outdoor labyrinth during the evening. "Once Upon A Tile” concluded with a lively dance party led by Sonic Liberation Front, an Afro-Cuban jazz group who set a stimulating musical backdrop for dancing and finish with eclectic beats spun by DJ Ginkgo.
April 23 - June 1
Embracing the theme of collaborative work, Philadelphia's Magic Gardens hosted Creative Correspondence: Equal Exchange Collaborative Works. This was an exhibition of the pieces created by students with mental impairment from Philly's Oasis Art Center and working artists in the local community. Oasis is a studio devoted to the art and life-skills education of adults with mental disabilities.
Creative Correspondence: Equal Exchange Collaborative Works, opened with a public reception on Friday, April 23 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and was on display through June 1. The purpose of this project was to expose Oasis' students to a variety of new ideas and imagery and push them to be inspired by each other as well as other working artists, while also providing a social and professional connection to the art community in Philadelphia. The participants were paired with one another according to related ideas and inspirations.
This show's pieces were intended to mimic the exquisite corpse technique; in which an artist records part of an image on paper and then passes it along to another artist to continue. The pieces encouraged a correspondence between the students and participating artists, creating small dialogues and temporary symbiotic interactions in which each participant could benefit from the skills and creative energy of the other. PMG's founding artist Isaiah Zagar participated, along with over 20 additional local artists.
" Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious is the inaugural presentation of a multi-sited international festival of festival of contemporary art that will occur in Philadelphia every four years. Philagrafika 2010 will focus on artistic practices that engage the visual, intellectual, and creative frontiers in printmaking and how these approaches relate to social and political issues in the public sphere."
PMG hosted two major exhibitions during Philagrafika 2010: Fifty Years of Printmaking: Works on Paper by Isaiah Zagar and Tell-Tale Tiles & Fractured Fantasies.
During Philagrafika 2010, PMG also hosted two community events in conjunction with the Free Library of Philadelphia's One Book, One Philadelphia program:
What's Your Story?, a family book-making activity, took place on Sunday, January 21, 2010 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm.
Zine Machine, a zine-making workshop and presentation took place on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.
Cinco De Mayo at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens!
• Free Admission
• Bilingual Tours
• Live music and local artists
• Traditional Mexican refreshments
• Art activities for the whole family
PMG was proud to partner with Casa Monarca for a celebration that honored this important Mexican battle. On Sunday, May 2, 2010 from 12:00 – 5:00 pm, PMG had hands-on art activities for families, traditional Mexican refreshments and kid-friendly, bilingual tours focusing on the Latin American sculptures embedded in PMG's mosaics. Amidst the glittering walls, visitors could view live musical performances and beautiful crafts made by local Mexican artists.
This event was sponsored by Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, PECO, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Casa Monarca.
In partnership with the Tile Heritage Foundation, PMG hosted a juried art exhibition of tile and mosaic artworks called Tell-Tale Tiles & Fractured Fantasies (TTTFF). The exhibition was inspired by the rich history of tile and mosaic art in the Philadelphia area over the past 100 years.
Tell-Tale Tiles & Fractured Fantasies explored contemporary tile making and ceramic mosaic as a story-telling medium in the spirit of artists Henry Chapman Mercer and Isaiah Zagar. The call for entry requested narrative tiles that could include social, political, personal, and family stories. Renowned ceramicist and art historian Susan Tunick selected the works for the exhibition.
Held in the gallery of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, this month-long exhibition provided an appropriate venue for tile and mosaic artists from around the country to make powerful and socially meaningful statements.
Calendar of events during the 2010 Tell-Tale Tiles & Fractured Fantasies:
Friday, March 19-Monday, April 19:Tell-Tale Tiles and Fractured Fantasies Exhibition
Daily Museum Admission: Adults $4, Kids 6-12 $2, Kids 5 and under FREE
Friday, March 19 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm: Opening reception for TTTFF
Cost: Adults $4 (Suggested Museum Admission Fee), PMG Members FREE
Monday-Tuesday, March 29-30 from 9:00am to 4:00pm: Pre-NCECA Public Mosaic Mural Workshop with founding artist, Isaiah Zagar
Cost: Early Registration: $200 plus $20 materials fee; After March 12, 2010, $250 plus $20 materials fee
To register for the NCECA workshop, call PMG at 215.733.0390 or sign up online
Tuesday, March 30 at 6:30pm: Lecture: "Henry Chapman Mercer and the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works" by Vance Koehler, Curator of Collections at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.
Cost: $7/students and PMG Members, $10/Adults, includes Museum Admission and light refreshments
Wednesday-Saturday, March 31-April 5: NCECA conference, PA Convention Center
Thursday, April 1 at 8:00am: Isaiah Zagar lecture at NCECA conference
Thursday, April 1 from 5:00pm- 8:00pm: NCECA reception
Cost: NCECA participants FREE ($2 suggested donation), Adults suggested $4 donation
Saturday, April 24-April 25 from 9:00am to 4:00pm: Public Mosaic Mural Workshop with founding artist, Isaiah Zagar
Four of the participating artists were chosen to receive excellence awards: Shanna Fliegel (Best in Show), Ashley Gray (Second Place), Shawn Newton (Third Place), and Edwin Mighell (Tile Heritage Award). In addition, two special prizes, The Spirit of Mercer and The Spirit of Zagar, were selected during the exhibition by Vance Koehler, Curator of Collections at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and Isaiah Zagar respectively.
Tell-Tale Tiles & Fractured Fantasies was generously underwritten by "Exhibition Hosting Sponsor" LATICRETE International, Inc. Other important sponsors were NS Ceramic, Inc., The Chicago Mosaic School, AMACO, Ed Pawlack Tile, Solar Antique Tiles, Laguna Clay Company, Paragon Industries, L.P., and the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.
"This so-called 'literary' side of the craft, this storytelling... has been my primary impulse or inspiration... But if tiles could tell no story, inspire or teach nobody, and only serve to produce aesthetic thrills, I would have stopped making them long ago."
-Henry Chapman Mercer
Other Media Mentions For TTTFF:
Fifty Years of Printmaking: Works on Paper by Isaiah Zagar
January 15, 2010 - March 5, 2010
Though best known for his shimmering mosaic murals on South Street, Philadelphia's Magic Gardens founding artist Isaiah Zagar revealed another, rarely-seen side of his art in January 2010. Throughout his expansive career, Zagar has also produced hundreds of etchings and woodcuts, and these prints, which were the focal point of the recent award-winning documentary, In a Dream, were featured at PMG as part of Philagrafika 2010.
Fifty Years of Printmaking: Works on Paper by Isaiah Zagar featured a varied selection of intricate prints which chronicle Zagar's life from his time as a young artist at New York City's renowned Pratt Institute through his marriage, the development of his children, and birth of his grandchildren. Prints created during his travels to Peru and India were also included. The exhibition ran from Friday, January 15, 2010 through Friday, March 5, 2010.
South Street Winter Solstice Celebration
We celebrated the Winter Solstice by forgetting about the cold with a day full of warm climate-themed performances and hands-on art workshops. Participating businesses and restaurants along South Street offered discounted shopping and food specials, so visitors could save money and support their local businesses.
Admission was $7/general admission, $5/PMG Members, $4/children aged 6-12, and FREE/children under 6.WINTER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL: December 19, 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
- 4:00-5:00 pm - Robert Fournier
Latin classical guitarist
- 5:00-6:00 pm - Joe Kille & Emiliano Rodriguez
Acoustic guitar and vocal performances
- 6:30-7:00 pm - Kelly Ray and Leslie Mitchell
Tango dance instruction
- 7:00-8:00 pm - Latino Dance Fiesta with DJ Ginkgo
Get your salsa dance on!
Flyer back - Participating businesses
Philly Fringe FestivalPMG hosts In(Visible) Keepsakes — New Philadelphia Poets
"Come witness the birth of a poem, the burial of another, and the wedding of word, music, and image as the New Philadelphia Poets locate a collective tongue in the city of brotherly love. Featuring poetic fortunes, imbibements, and prizes, In(visible) Keepsakes is an ecstatic celebration of language and community." More information at the Philly Fringe Festival website.
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours
"Drunken Teapot" by Jimmy Clark