“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”
— John Muir
The beating of the drums began and the sun shined bright. Even though it was only 50 degrees, it was feeling like spring. The aroma of blossoming plants, the crisp air, and the need for sunscreen all means that it’s finally a new season. I recently went to Philadelphia to visit the Morris Arboretum, which offers 3,000 plants of approximately 2,600 types are growing, which include representatives of the temperate floras of North America, Asia, and Europe. I met friends there during the annual cherry blossom festival. I took in the aroma of Cherry Allée, Virginia bluebell, sayonara magnolia, and the Berenice Boddy Japanese camellia. This is a great venue to visit alone or with close friends.
After making some decisions in my life and my new focus for my business, I found clarity. The idea focuses on highlighting destinations that are calming, like meditation retreats, peaceful places, parks, and other places to rest, rejuvenate, and recharge mentally and physically. I believed that the idea came over years of stress and that my art exhibit back in 2017 was part of the first ideas of this concept.
I had done an exhibit featuring locations in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The work was digitally altered photography to represent mood or feelings. The title of this exhibit was “Chaos and Calm” and I felt that at the time it was some of my best work as an artist. I have always been drawn to nature and specifically calming streams near my childhood home.
As I thought about how to build a business focused on travel, I realized it just makes sense to highlight places that are calming. It seems so clear to me now, the concept of calming destinations. I would like to not only share information about national parks, state parks, places to stay to create your own “retreat” as well as traditional/structured retreats.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a non-profit organization, folk art environment, and gallery space on South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To date, it is the largest work created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar.
Even in all the chaos of this place, with people taking selfies, and commenting, I found this place so incredibly inspiring. I’d love to sit down and have coffee with Isaiah and ask him what these bits and pieces of broken plates, bottles, pens, ceramics, and other pieces of metal mean to him years later. While I wandered around, I made photographs and a video, which highlights some of the details in this space. Looking at the images now, it asks what’s the source of inspiration for art? How is meaning found in art? What may be meaningful to me, may not be to others. I found it energizing to walk around and find unique words, phrases, or just look at the shattered pieces of glass and ceramics.
The mission of this art is to “inspire creativity and community engagement by educating the public about folk, mosaic, and visionary art. PMG preserves interpret and provide access to Isaiah Zagar’s unique mosaic art environment and his public murals.”
This place is truly magical. The values I found most interesting because these are the same values I believe in, in my life, the one I’m creating. So I’ve shared them below, and I’m proud to be a part of this amazing global community who builds each other up, supports each other, and welcomes everyone. One day I hope to have a space to share with this community.
- Champions originality and embraces the creative process unbound by conventional norms. This is exemplified by our thinking and actions, and the unique experience we provide our audience.
- Welcomes our visitors and staff with an open mind. We believe in creating a safe space that embraces a diversity of culture, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, and physical or mental ability. Our policies and programming encourage connecting to others with respect and dignity.
- Values community. We unify individuals through shared experiences and build relationships with diverse Philadelphia residents, businesses and neighboring nonprofits.
- Believes in inspiring others. The artwork and programs provoke inspiration through curiosity, self-expression, and awe.