Just a few blocks from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall you will find one of the most beautiful works of art that you will find in the entire city. Maxfield Parish’s Dream Garden is tucked away in an office building called the Curtis Center. You enter the building on 6th Street, between Chestnut and Walnut and the beautiful mosaic greets you as you walk through the door.
Now I have lived in Philadelphia my entire life, but until just recently I was not aware of the Dream Garden.
When you see it for the first time you are struck by its size. The Dream Garden was commissioned by the original owner of the building in 1916, who was looking to make art available to the public. After striking out with three artists, he finally approached Philadelphia’s own Maxfield Parish. Once Parish had his design, he worked in conjunction with Tiffany of New York who produced over 100,000 pieces of glass to create the final art. It was assembled at Tiffany’s studio and then shipped to Philadelphia for a six-month installation.
Sadly, with the death of the owner of the Dream Garden in 1998, it was almost sold to a an out of town buyer. Thankfully, the Pew Charitable trusts made a grant of $3.5 million to purchase the Dream garden so it would remain in its original location, open to both art enthusiasts as well as passers-by who want to take in one of Philadelphia’s hidden treasures.