Clichéd perhaps, but one person’s junk really is another’s treasure. Some of America’s most extraordinary art displays are born from recycled materials. In honor of Earth Day, we pay homage to these secondhand masters:
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Formed as a nonprofit in 2002 to preserve the works of the renowned Philly-based mosaic mural artist Isaiah Zagar, this colorful South Street attraction includes a blocklong art gallery and a massive walk-through labyrinth assembled from found items like discarded mirrors, Latin American sculptures and Zagar’s own handmade tiles. Guided tours are available.
Cathedral of Junk
Last year, spurred by a neighbor’s safety concerns, Texan Vince Hannemann nearly tore down his 20-year project — a 33-foot-tall, 60-ton backyard sculpture composed of auto parts, road signs and worn appliances. Instead, he just revamped. Now considerably smaller (but up to code), it’s open to visitors by appointment. (512) 299-7413 for appointments, www.facebook.com/cathedral.of.junk
Sonoma County, Calif.
Self-taught artist Patrick Amiot placed his first junk sculpture — a brightly painted fisherman crafted out of an old barbecue grill, a wheelbarrow and some used vacuum cleaners — on his front lawn in 2001. Today, a drive along local streets reveals more than 350 pieces of his whimsical work, including a giant sitting dog made from scrapped tin, and a surfer atop an old ironing board.