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Surfing Madonna

Source: North County Times, San Diego, USA
26 April 2011

Like pilgrims, visitors came to run their hands across the intricate stained-glass mosaic of the Virgin Mary riding a surfboard that some unknown artists glued to the side of a concrete bridge support on Encinitas Boulevard.

The mural was quietly installed just before Easter under the trestle bridge, between Vulcan Avenue and Coast Highway 101. City officials say no one has claimed responsibility for the work.

The mosaic is more than pretty. Posted on public property, its presence forces the North County Transit District, the government agency that owns the bridge, to make a call: Should the work stay or should it go? Alex Wiggins, a spokesman for the district, said that nothing has been decided.

"We really need to sit down and work out what some of the concerns are," Wiggins said. "Hopefully, in the next couple of days, we'll send out a statement."

The mural has the potential to push several buttons ---- it inserts a religious theme on public property and it depicts a sacred image, Our Lady of Guadalupe, in an unconventional pose.

To Catholics, Our Lady of Guadalupe is an icon of the Virgin Mary who they believe appeared miraculously in Guadalupe, Mexico. She is also the patron saint of the Americas.

The San Diego Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Visitors seem mostly fascinated by the artists' workmanship.


source: The Coast News

Residents ask for public art reprieve

by Wehtahnah Tucker
Coast News Group

Witnesses say that artists dressed as construction workers installed a 10-foot square mosaic art piece depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe as a surfer under a railroad bridge on Encinitas Boulevard. Down the left side of the mosaic are the words “Save The Ocean.”

A few residents urged City Council on April 27 to grant amnesty to a surfing Madonna mosaic secretly installed under a railroad trestle along one of the town’s busiest roadways. The speakers requested that the piece of art be left alone to adorn the city’s main entrance.

While the council is not allowed to address speakers’ questions during the session, city officials have said that the mural must be removed and wondered how much damage will be done to the existing structure in the process.

"It fits the definition of graffiti,” said Richard Phillips, assistant city manager. "The city’s anti-graffiti ordinance is broad enough to include more than just someone spray-painting a wall. Rather, it is written to cover everything from advertising stickers to messages scratched into surfaces," he added.

Several people asked the council to let it remain in place for at least 90 days and urged the city to grant amnesty to the mosaic’s creators if they step forward and admit that they made it. City officials said they were considering whether to file a complaint with law enforcement and seek removal costs from the artist or artists.

"As vandals go, we are dealing with a highly evolved species here,” Leucadia resident Kathleen Lees said. She said she considered the mosaic to be lovely and beautifully installed.

Mike Clark, an Encinitas resident, offered to assist the city with preserving the “first-rate” art. He told city officials that if they would allow the mosaic to go through the city's regular public art review process in the next 90 days, he personally would put up Plexiglass to protect it.

The city and the North County Transit District, which is the government agency that owns the bridge, have determined that the mosaic is within an area that the city controls.

Phillips emphasized that the city has a standard public art review process in which the city’s Arts Commission vets proposals. But some residents did not know the origin of the art and were unconcerned about its lack of confirmation by the city. “I think that anyone who spent this much time and energy and made such a beautiful piece of art for everyone to enjoy should be thanked, not demonized,” said Paul Francis, an Escondido resident who came to Encinitas specifically to view the mural. “I think the city should let this one go (and keep it in place).”

Officials are meeting with the city attorney early next week to determine how best to proceed.


The mystery artist who created the much-loved surfing Madonna mosaic in Encinitas came forward after weeks of silence and accepted responsibility for his rogue public art piece. He is longtime Leucadia resident Mark Patterson, 58.

Source: North County Times


The mosaic dubbed the "Surfing Madonna," which had been an object of curiosity and controversy in the seaside suburb of Encinitas in northern San Diego County, was removed Wednesday night under an agreement between the artist and city officials.

Under the agreement, the mosaic is to be relocated off public property. The artist, Mark Patterson, paid the cost of the removal, as well as a $500 fine and other expenses attached to the mysterious appearance and now removal of the mosaic on the bridge overpass near Moonlight Beach.

Source: Los Angeles Times


The Surfing Madonna mosaic has finally found a home on the wall of a courtyard near the corner of North Coast Highway and Jasper Street, between a coffeehouse and a surf shop.

Source: Union-Tribune, San Diego


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