June 8, 2020
As an organization, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens prides ourselves on working to be a safe space, and we intentionally design our policies and programming to ensure that everyone who enters our space treats one another with respect and dignity. Though the Gardens were originally created by Isaiah Zagar, he does not own the Gardens or have a vote on its Board of Directors. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens operates independently of Isaiah as a 501(c)3 nonprofit art environment with its own staff and Board of Directors that showcases and cultivates the work of various artists and talents from around the world while supporting values that include originality, community, and inspiring others.
Members of our community have raised concerns regarding inappropriate past behavior by Isaiah Zagar. The Gardens, its staff and Board, do not tolerate harassment or discrimination in any form. To ensure that we do all in our power to create a safe space for our staff and visitors, we have enhanced our policies and support systems and provided comprehensive training for our staff and Board. The allegations left us hurt, angry and confused as we confronted a reality that was in every way the opposite of what we stood for. We care about our people, we care about our mission, and most of all we care about our community of neighbors and visitors who make our institution what it is.
We hope this statement in no way takes attention away from the incredible, painful and much-needed change our country is experiencing. We believe this is just a small part of massive systemic change that needs to happen not only here in America but throughout the world. We continue to look inward about how we can live the mission of the Gardens. The Gardens is a place that is fundamentally based on its celebration of art and people who are diverse, unconventional, and, too often, marginalized. We have long strived to inspire others by sharing the work and culture of artists from around the world. It is clear that we need to find ways to pay attention to the voices in our community that are not heard nearly enough.
We are listening. We ask for your help finding our role in supporting positive change in both individuals and in our communities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute your thoughts on what the Gardens can do to evolve its mission and platform as a champion of the diverse and inspirational.
The PMG Board and Staff