Highlights from the Collection

Folk Art Highlights

Folk Art has always been part of the story of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Isaiah Zagar, the creator of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) and his wife Julia first connected with folk artists in the 1960s when they worked in Peru as Peace Corps volunteers. Their love for folk art grew as they purchased works from around the world for the Eye’s Gallery, Julia’s store at 4th and South Streets. The objects at PMG are often pieces that broke and could not be sold. Many are special collaborative commissions between Isaiah and the folk artist. If Isaiah admires the work of an artist he will leave drawings with them to interpret in their own style. These partnerships sometimes continue for years and result in hundreds of unique pieces that are installed at PMG.

The majority of the folk art at PMG is Mexican, since the Zagars fostered so many friendships there over the past five decades. However, there are also folk art pieces from many other countries they have visited. Works from India, Peru, Ecuador, Morocco, Indonesia, and Guatemala can all be found in the space.

The PMG staff began taking trips to Mexico in 2016 to carry on this legacy of working with folk artists. It is PMG’s mission to continue supporting the work of these talented artists and to share their stories and traditions with the public. PMG’s preservation team adds new artworks to the installation as old ones deteriorate or break, and we regularly focus temporary exhibitions on these artists.

Find more resources about Folk Art at PMG in the Influences from Abroad Resource Sheet

Click on each image to learn more about the artists:

Angelina Reyes
Balinese Wood Carving
Irma Blanco
Joel Garcia
The Aguilar Family
Luis Valencia
The Vasquez Cruz Family
Jorge Wilmot
The Garcia Family
The Flores Family
The Jimenez Family
The Medrano Family
The Ortega Family
Luz Maria Salinas
The Pedro Martinez Family
The Lorenzo Family

Other Artist Highlights

Isaiah Zagar worked with several artists when creating Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and included their work in the space. Many of these artists were fellow South Street Renaissance participants, or artists he connected with through the Philadelphia art community. Click each box below to learn a little more about these artists and examples of their art at PMG.

Lucartha Kohler
Mark Blumenstein
Michael Biello
Ricky Boscarino
Ron Garfinkle
Michael Morgan
Shelley Spector
Warren Muller