How Quirky is Berkeley? Magic (sculpture) garden on Heinz

729 Heinz. Photo: John Storey
729 Heinz Ave. Photo: John Storey

In the 1980s and 1990s, 729 Heinz Ave. was home to Magic Gardens, a wonderful and, yes, magical nursery. It is long gone now, and after some years of farrow fields, the Magic Gardens space is once again a fertile garden, now housing a changing cast of sculpture. The Artworks Foundry is there. It is one of the nation’s leading foundries for the production and restoration of bronze sculptures, reliefs and monuments.

729 Heinz Avenue. Photo: Tom Dalzell
729 Heinz Ave. Photo: Tom Dalzell
729 Heinz Avenue. Photo: John Storey
729 Heinz Ave. Photo: John Storey
729 Heinz Avenue. Photo: John Storey
729 Heinz Ave. Photo: John Storey
729 Heinz Avenue. Photo: John Storey
729 Heinz Ave. Photo: John Storey
Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley Calif, on December 30th, 2015.
729 Heinz Ave. Photo: John Storey
729 Heinz Avenue. Photo: Tom Dalzell
729 Heinz Ave. Photo: Tom Dalzell

Sculptures cast at Artworks Foundry populate the space that once was Magic Gardens.

Peter Voulkos "Stacks" at 729 Heinz Avenue. Photo: John Storey
Peter Voulkos “Stacks” at 729 Heinz Ave. Photo: John Storey

Among the abstract pieces are a number of works by Peter Voulkos, remembered as a ground-breaking ceramicist.

A few years ago, western Heinz Avenue was desolate. But not for long. The area is reinventing itself, which is something that we in Berkeley do all the time. Berkeley Bowl West is a few blocks away. Glassybaby from Seattle moved in just east of what-used-to-be-Magic-Gardens on Heinz.  Lee Rhodes founded Glassybaby with the premise of dedicating profits to support cancer patients and their families during treatment. Big glass ovens. Glass blowing. Lovely glasses and votive candle holders. And amazing sculpture on cracked asphalt. West Berkeley lives!  With any luck, someone will get Sam’s 58 Club going again – it would be a better world with Sam’s open, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed on weekends.


Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.

For a fuller version of this post, see Quirky Berkeley.

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