An important part of the mission of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is to preserve the work of Isaiah Zagar. Exposure to weather elements and 165,000 visitors a year leaves parts of the installation vulnerable to damage, and that’s where PMG’s Preservation Team comes in.
PMG’s Preservation Team consists of three full-time staff members lead by Preservation & Facilities Manager Stacey Holder, who work closely with Isaiah Zagar. They have trained in his style of mosaicking, in addition to studying new techniques and materials to ensure the longevity of the work. On a weekly basis they assess the site, visit nearby mosaicked murals, document new murals, clean the tiles and folk art, and make repairs to damaged or delaminated sections of the walls.
Another important element to the preservation process is maintaining relationships with the many Mexican folk artists who have contributed work to PMG. Members of the staff travel to Mexico several times a year to meet with the artists and commission new work – both to replace broken pieces and to simply add new work to the space. These unique partnerships allow the Gardens to be an ever-changing and growing work of art.
In the last few years the Preservation Team has also painstakingly documented the over 200 public mosaic murals completed by Zagar throughout the city. A full and updated map can be found on our website. They are now beginning work to assess and repair those walls that require attention. If you have a wall on your property that you would like the team to look at, please contact Stacey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your help is needed!
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens requires funds to help purchase materials, fund large-scale preservation projects, and commission new work for the site. Please consider making a donation!
If you are interested in making a donation of tiles or materials, please contact Stacey Holder at email@example.com
Articles on PMG’s Preservation Team:
The Magician’s Code: How Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is Preserved, Tile by Tile – The National Trust for Historic Preservation 4.19
Restoring Philly’s Magic Gardens, which weren’t supposed to last – Philadelphia Inquirer 8.18
Preserving the Philadelphia Magic Gardens – Citywide 8.18