30 Days of Philly Arts

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30 Days of Philly Arts: Getting out to Race Street Pier and Philadelphia's Magic Gardens - Day 25

This is the perfect weather for enjoying the many outdoor delights that Philadelphia has to offer.


One newish park (it opened in May 2011) is Race Street Pier. a repurposed wharf that was transformed into an aesthetic and recreational space much like the High Line in New York City. Extending into the Delaware River in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge, the Pier took its form from the 1896 building that preceded it on what was formerly called Municipal Pier 11. Where the downstairs of the old wharf building was for shipping, the lower level of Race Street Pier has lawn, plants and seating and the upper a promenade with winning views of the City and the Delaware River. Like the pumping station across Columbus Boulevard that is being transformed into the home of FringeArts, the Race Street Pier is part of the initiative to reinvigorate the Delaware River waterfront through a consortium of public and private groups.

Over on South Street, the presence of Philadelphia artist and urban pioneer Isaiah Zagar can be seen for blocks through the mosaics he has installed on walls and buildings since the 1960s. His conversion of a scrap lot into Philadelphia's Magic Gardens has resulted in a place of respite in the city, an indoor and outdoor hub for recycled arts, music, and education.

The Magic Gardens offers tours, exhibitions, workshops on creating mosaic murals, concerts and a Twilight in the Gardens Series this week featuring pianist Bob Barry. There's an upcoming seminar called Harry Potter and the Art of Empowerment. And the spot is available for private events. Or you can just go and enjoy the unique ambiance. For information on visiting click here.

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