This article is part of a special editorial partnership with Hidden City Daily on preservation in Philadelphia. Like what you read? Check out the full March 2013 issue and visit Hidden City for more stories on the inspiring preservation work being done in Philadelphia.
Nearly 10 years ago, in 2002, Philadelphia nearly saw the loss of some of its more unique artwork: the Magic Gardens. A mosaic wonderland created by visionary artist Isaiah Zagar, the Gardens are considered responsible for helping revitalize the once derelict South Street. So when the owner of the once-vacant lot Zagar’s artwork now occupies announced he would sell, the community immediately responded with support. Their efforts saved Zagar’s work. “Otherwise,” says Ellen Owens, executive director of the nonprofit Magic Gardens, “[the gardens] would no longer be here.”